The commission room was filled to near capacity at the Tuesday night meeting of the Red Bank Commission. Most of those filling the seats were involved with the organization “Seniors on the Go” as either a participant or volunteer.
The group meets two times a week at the Red Bank Community Center with around 30-40 people signing in each day. Some are in their 90’s, some use walkers and some use canes. Some live alone and this is the only interaction they have with other people. Exercise classes are offered , they play cards and bingo, do arts and crafts, and sometimes have health screenings.
They also support and encourage each other and this all combines to improve their quality of life, said several of the speakers. The only fee charged is $3 a day for lunch which some can pay and some cannot. This money also provides the funds for cleaning and other supplies used by the group.
The organization has been meeting for the last four years without asking the city for any money. The only cost to Red Bank has been minimal use of electricity and water for the eight days a month the group meets. A part-time director was included in the last city budget for a trial period of six months. The reason that position has never been filled was questioned by the people who spoke at the meeting on behalf of the senior association.
The main issue of concern, however, was that the city recently notified the organization that they need to have insurance in order to meet at a city owned facility. Ruth Jeno, a past commissioner and the person responsible for starting Seniors on the Go, spoke, saying that up until the time the group asked for funding a part time director, there had been no issue about insurance. Each citizen that spoke told the commissioners that most of the participants are on limited, fixed incomes and could not afford the cost to cover insurance. They came to the commission meeting to seek help from the city by way of providing the insurance.
Red Bank insures all their buildings, said City Attorney Arnie Stulce. Employees are covered, but other people are not insured. Other recreational organizations that use city-owned facilities such as sports leagues and the city’s swimming pool, pay fees that cover the cost of insurance. Mr. Stulce said he will check to see if the city’s insurance company would accept a waiver from the seniors as a means of addressing the insurance issue concerning the group.
When asked why the insurance provider, Tennessee Municipal League, had not required insurance for the senior program for the previous four years; Mr. Stulce answered that it had just noticed that it was needed. He added that the participants of the program include some people who are at a high risk for falls and injuries. He also said he expected the matter to be resolved satisfactorily.
One resident addressed the commissioners about a matter other than the senior center. He said that a mis-representation was made when he bought his home. He was lead to believe it was hooked up to the sewer system. Two years later he discovered it actually had a functioning septic tank instead. The sewer line and hook up had been put in front of his home, but was never connected. He complained that he was required to pay a monthly sewer charge and an additional $8 a month that all users must pay for upkeep to the system. He told the commission that he considers this “legalized robbery.”
In reply, attorney Stulce told him the law says if public money placed lines, then everyone who has the ability to use them must pay. This board has to enforce the law, he said. Additionally, none of the commissioners have the power to do anything about it, he said. The state legislature does have the power to address it, and suggested that the state representative be contacted about the matter.