SPRINGDALE (KFSM) — The Springdale City Council voted unanimously to take over operations of the Springdale Senior Center at a meeting on Tuesday night (April 11).
The city will officially take over the center on July 1 and will fall under the parks and recreation department.
During the meeting, ward 4 councilwoman Kathy Jaycox said many questions still needed to be answered, including where in the budget would provide the estimated $205,000 to fund the senior center every year.
Lori Proud, executive director of the Springdale Senior Center, said current funds come from state and federal grants, which ties their hands when it comes to providing the best services to seniors. City ownership would eliminate the problem, she said.
The acquirement would also provide consistency, Proud said, by eliminating the need for what she called ‘resetting’ every time an organization contracts with the center.
The Springdale Senior Center has had several contractors over the years. Each new contracting organization costs the center money and time by having to retrain staff and rebrand vehicles and facilities. It also results in the loss of accrued vacation time, Proud said.
“You start over as a new employee every… three years,” Proud said. “All vans have to be changed, all signage has to be changed, everybody has to be retrained because every company does everything different.”
The Area Agency on Aging of Northwest Arkansas is contracted to operate the Springdale Senior Center through July 1, 2017.
The senior center is a place for seniors to gather for conversation and a hot meal. The center has served 11,000 meals to seniors since July of 2016 and they’ve served 12,000 meals through the meals on wheels program.
Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse said details like budget funding, operations and the transition of meals on wheels will be worked out by the council before the July 1 transfer.
Councilors will also have to decide what to do with the roughly $510,000 in the senior center’s account. Wyman Morgan, director of administration & finance, suggested the city put the money in an account and only use it when necessary.
Jaycox voted yes on the proposal, but said she still would have liked time to review the details of the move to provide a seamless transition, but added “I look forward to us moving forward with it and making this work.”