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Request for financial relief for Senior Citizens Center deserves City Backing

December 21, 2008

The Senior Citizens Center in Marshalltown has long served an important purpose for the older citizens of our community.

We'd like to see that continue. And we're glad to see the center's leaders step forward and ask for our support as a community. We're not as pleased to see a little more support has not yet been given by the Marshalltown City Council.

In these days of bailouts, we can understand why some may question the need to place another financial burden on taxpayers. But there are some important differences between corporate bailouts and financial assistance to the Senior Citizens Center.

For starters, the Senior Citizens Center isn't run by corporate executives earning fortunes of money each year while ignoring basic economic and financial rules. Volunteers make up the heart of the center, offering countless hours of time and talents each day it is open.

Then, there's the responsible nature of the center's operations. The center has worked hard to keep its expenses under control rather than spending "willy nilly" on frivolous projects or handing out excessive bonuses to all involved. Want proof? It's building isn't exactly the Taj Mahal. But it adequately suits the purpose of the organization without being a dilapidated eyesore.

And, the center isn't asking for millions of dollars in financial aid so it can pretend to fix a few things, but continue down a path of wasteful spending. The center is hoping to relieve some pressure from its budget by dropping its rent to $1, not take taxpayers for all their worth to fund grandiose new projects or pay off ridiculous debts stemming from wasteful actions.

We realize the city already pays $22,000 in utilities for the center, but the amount the organization is asking for ii really not taht much more. With the county already agreeing to pay half of the $9,600 rent, the city need only come up with $4,800.

The city council should take action as soon as possible to provide the Senior Citizens Center with some much needed relief from its financial concerns. Someday, all taxpayers will eventually grow older and enjoy the benefits of the center. And frankly, we don't mind helping with the bill in the meantime.



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