Seniors hit with membership increases

As of January 1, 2011, senior citizens who utilize the Frank Bailey Center and the J. Charley Griswell Senior Center began paying more money for their yearly memberships.

Clayton county seniors now pay $12 for a yearly membership, up from $1, non-county seniors who used to pay $10 must now pay $180, and the costs for meals were raised by $1.

According to a press release, the department lost grants which helped fund the senior centers. That in conjunction with a loss in tax revenue and fees led to the Board of Commissioners’ decision to raise membership fees, and the BOC “… continues to evaluate what other actions are necessary.”

Most will agree that if anybody deserves a break financially, it is senior citizens. To that end, Clayton’s seniors will receive the best deal on their yearly membership costs, and rightfully so since they pay taxes here and have presumably contributed to their community and/or county in some way.

But believe it or not, many come from surrounding counties to utilize all of our recreation centers, and I’m not just talking senior citizens. Those other counties also charge non-residents more money to use their facilities. So, why should Clayton operate any differently?

Should non-county residents pay more to use local recreation centers?

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However, the steep increase could drive non-county residents away from Clayton’s senior centers, leaving those who remain to get hit with higher increases and/or lost services.

Either way, senior citizens aren’t going away quietly. They have threatened lawsuits against the county, will sign petitions to protest the BOC’s decision, and intend to rally. Those with memberships set to expire in June also want to ensure that their contracts will be honored despite these new increases.

Your thoughts? Should the yearly membership fee be spread more evenly amongst all seniors, regardless of where they live?

35 comments Add your comment

Tell The Truth

January 10th, 2011
12:52 pm

Short answer to the last question, no. I would love to get a library card for the Atlanta Public Library, but unfortunately as a resident of Clayton County, I am not eligible to do so for free ($40). As for the Seniors leading a revolt, FOLKS WE DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY!!!! Everybody wants what they want without regard to cost. My mother-in-law tried to apply for the center and was told that she should not pay the $12, even though she could. This is not only childish, but could ultimately lead to the closing of the Centers if it becomes too problematic. Besides, many members don’t even go to the Centers with their membership. They’ll us the regular rec centers to workout. I say, if the money isn’t there, you have no choice but to raise the cost of services.

My My

January 10th, 2011
1:15 pm

Yearly memberships for seniors living in the county from $1 to $12 is a 1100% increase – tho the amount is doable and hardly a “burden”. The increase for out-of-county seniors from $10 to $180 is a 1700% – and because of the amount is a burden for so many that are on a fixed budget.

A graduated increase over several years would be more appropriate. Maybe over the last several years – the County Commission should have looked at these and done a better job at matching the costs, and not try to give everyone a free ride on benefits the county tries to provide. Clayton the welfare mecca.

Common Sense

January 10th, 2011
1:40 pm

$1 year??? That should have been changed years ago. What genuis thought $1/year was a good idea, sheesh!

Common sense approach:
Try $25/year for in-county senior residents.
Increase out-of-county seniors rate to $50-$75.
Cut out all of the recereation dept. staff recently hired within the last 6 months. Why were all these people hired knowing of these looming budget deficiets?
Also, why are some of these supervisors receiving such large raises too???
What about the $17 million surplus that was reported in the paper?

It isn’t all that difficult people!

oldtimer

January 10th, 2011
2:01 pm

Many many of those seniors lived in CC when we had no services and have now moved to smaller homes. Give them a break!

I see stupid people

January 10th, 2011
2:31 pm

Our seniors are important. They have paid their dues and deserve our care and fair treatment. I say reduce the noncounty fees to reasonable levels. $180 a year is not reasonable. The county should not be giving out raises or promotions at this time to anyone.

Tax Paying Senior Citizen in Clayton County

January 10th, 2011
2:36 pm

Are taxpaying seniors aware that the senior centers are also taxpayer funded so they too would endure shortfalls and have the need to generate revenue in other ways to continue these services?

This shortfall is the result of the state cutting a $300,000 annual allocation to our senior services program as; the state budget cuts for this fiscal year have also affected other agencies in other counties throughout the state. All these agencies have had to find ways to make up the shortfall in spending as the Clayton BOC has done with the increase in fees.
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The BOC approved raising the senior center membership fees from $1 a year to $12 a year for county residents. Out of county resident fees would increase to $180 a year. This can be paid at $1 per month for residents or $15 per month for out-of-county residents.

The outcry that you are hearing in the community is from out of county residents who want to come in and use our top notch facilities at the same rate as the taxpaying residents. The protesters at the board meeting were out of county residents who are demanding that the taxpayers of Clayton County fund their recreation. It doesn’t really make sense to me. I don’t think I can go to Fayette County and demand the same price for their facilities as their taxpaying citizens.

It is a normal and fair practice for out of county residents to pay higher fees for services. For example, area counties do not allow out of county students to attend schools and it was highly noted that after the accreditation crisis, surrounding counties severely fined anyone caught attending their schools from other counties.

Clayton County too often has to bear a negative perception. We need to turn this issue around and frame it to be about the first class senior centers and programming that Clayton County offers. They have to be top if the line for out of county residents to be fighting to be able to stay. The Director of Senior Services does an excellent job in developing and maintaining quality programming and ensuring the facilities of top notch. Let’s frame this story as one to say that Clayton County citizens are astute enough to have great foresight to vote for SPLOST and have built these top of the line facilities…again facilities so good that nearly 1000 out of county residents come to use them.

I believe the taxpayer in Fayette and Henry County pays far more than Clayton County resident pays on his/her home. Clayton County should not subsidize other county residents’ recreation.
Yes this is a touchy issue because it does involve seniors like me, but bottom line is I do not believe that taxpayers in Clayton County would sign on to pay for the recreation or services of other counties seniors, children, or other adults.

For years the senior services program was operated under Parks and Recreation. The BOC recognized there was a need to ensure that the services and programming for seniors was top of the line. The BOC promoted a Clayton County resident who has years of experience working with seniors at ARC as well as related college education to run this department. Once promoted to director, it was only fitting that the salary be raised to be in line with all other departments.

The director has done an excellent job of building up the senior services programming to the point where out of county residents are using the facilities at a high rate. The salary is nowhere near the $150,000 a year, with access to two taxpayer funded cars that the county chairman enjoys.

Unfortunately, this issue is spinning out of control based on misinformation (nice way of saying lies) by a senior vying for votes and attention as they prepare for a campaign race in 2012.

Riverdaleonmymind

January 10th, 2011
4:13 pm

I’m not only a Senior Citizen, but, I’m also disabled with several disabilities and I not allowed to have such luxuries of leaving my home, accept to go to my doctor.

What is real cost of being a Disabled Senior Citizen by the county ?

Is it the lack of our electing officials ignoring us ?

What about our annual Social Security increases ?

Currently; We haven’t a pay increase last year or the year before.

What about our local tax increases ?

What about our Medical Insurance and Drug Prescriptions ?

And someone finds it difficult to deal with a price increase at the Senior Center ?

Please Spare us.

My Medication Costs me over $500. dollars per month, I see no relief from paying county taxes, and I live without any State or Federal Assistance.

Spare us from paying for services that we have no need for !!!

Gerard

January 10th, 2011
4:37 pm

I am amazed at some of the comments, but realize that this has become a cloudy picture. There are two sections of people that we ALL should give EXTRA care. That is our CHILDREN(education), our future and our SENIORS which have earnde the right to have a FAIR start and enjoy their TWILIGHT. SENIORS should enjoy services wherever they go, not just to include where they stay. If the SENIORS of Clayton County can not see that there membership fees are going to skyrocket in the very near future then some thing is very WRONG. By keeping fees down for in county and raisint the fees for out of county to 180 dollars, you are forcing out of county people that can’t afford the fees out. For the record there are 1400 plus out of county seniors that SUPPOT your centers. That equates to over 238,000 dollars in membership fees. In my opinion 70 to 95% will not be able to AFFORD this INCREASE. This leaves still a 200,000 dollar shortfall. Who do you think will have to make up the DEFICIT. CLAYTON COUNTY SENIORS. Please admonish the BOC and the Senior Services Director to rescind their RESOLUTION and EXPLORE other AVENUES to cut cost. There is NOTHING political about this is is on PRACTICAL and COMMON SENSE. The handwriting is on the WALL, and please think long and hard before we stomp on our OWN TOES.

DisabledTax Paying Senior Citizen in Clayton County

January 10th, 2011
4:50 pm

Let the Seniors Citizens pay their own way, as I do.

Disabled Tax Paying Senior Citizen in Clayton County

January 10th, 2011
4:57 pm

Raise the price for these services or do away with these hangouts for old people, like myself.
Don’t Worry, I don’t have any need for something that I help pay for but never used.
Where is General Sherman, when we need him the most ?

Tax Paying Senior Citizen in Clayton County

January 10th, 2011
5:07 pm

Sorry for the double post. Seniors don’t you see we are being used for political fodder. We may be old but we are not dumb. Lets get our facts straight and stop letting users tug at our emotions and use just plain common sense. We can not go to any county and have the superb facilities that we have and not pay extra. I have news for you they might not even let you pay to use their facilities in some counties.

Tax Paying Senior Citizen in Clayton County

January 10th, 2011
6:18 pm

Gerard, what is the sense in us not having out of county fees when every other county does? We will cut down on the wear and tear on our facilities or we charge so that we have the money for upkeep. i promise you they will still come. What employee is telling people not to join the center in protest? Now that is real stupid!

Disabled Tax Paying Senior Citizen in Clayton County

January 10th, 2011
6:58 pm

…My Family brought me this computer, I don’t have to worry about getting dressed to go anywhere to socialize,I have facebook, I belong to two dozen community forums, I shop on ebay, my family can check on me anytime that I’m online.
…I can’t even stand up, but, on the Internet Forums I tell people that a jog every morning at 5:00am !!
….This Internet is more fun than any Senior Center and the women are much younger on the Internet ( I have to use a outdated photo of me ,Ha,Ha. )
…This method also reduces my need for hair cuts, deodorant, doing laundry, making schedules, and I don’t have to settle for less from my so called friends.
….I now have friends from all over the world, without leaving my home. Try that at the Senior Center !!

2DPoint

January 10th, 2011
9:43 pm

Prices are going up for everything (gas (cars and homes, electricity, some bank fees, taxes on grocery possibly returning). Why does it seem that our county commissioners have a problem communicating with the citizens they are supposed to be serving? If the senior citizens had a good understanding of the loss of grant funds and given some options, maybe the environment might not be so toxic over the issue right now. For county citizens who use these facilities, I don’t think $12.00 per year is going to kill them – but the increase for out-of-county citizens is more than outrageous. Protesting will likely not help the situation but senior citizens shouldn’t just lie down and dump the money in for nothing. Pulling participation from the facilities mean they would probably close which is not a good thing. Senior Citizens advocates should continue to keep the pressure on to control the costs because I suspect more increases are coming down the pike.

Disabled Tax Paying Senior Citizen in Clayton County

January 10th, 2011
10:44 pm

Take a Clue from The Forest Park Recreational Department; There are charges/Fees set for Residents or Non-Residents and its been that way, ever since I have been here for over 34 years.

http://forestparkga.org/winterspring2011a.pdf

Doris M

January 11th, 2011
8:48 am

I used the Frank Baily Center often before I had a medical problem that prevented me from attending. It was great! I thought the $1.00 fee was absolutely too low but a great deal. The center was well attended. The meals were very low cost and very good. I know there were lots of seniors attending who were not Clayton County residents. Those attendees should pay more money for the services, but a $180 per year is a bit ridiculous. Seniors are on fixed incomes with most of them not receiving an increase this year. Most of them have high medical bills (mainly for prescription medicine) and that needs to be taken into consideration.
The senior centers are great for getting seniors out of the house and into recreational pursuits. It is very needed, but let’s not price it out of existence.

CC

January 11th, 2011
2:46 pm

Its a shame that the senior center is named after one of the people chiefly responsible ruining this county thus triggering the loss of revenue that follows. TO THE IDIOTS IN THE BOC…..You will coninue to loose tax revenue as businesses leave this county because of the dump that you and your predecessors have allowed it to become. You are digging a hole…you MUST focus on attracting business to the county….you must do this by GETTING rid of the trash that lives here that discourages PEOPLE and BUSINESSES from coming here.

CC

January 11th, 2011
2:48 pm

Of course you’re loosing tax revenue BOC….U are running businesses out of town by allowing trashy low life residents to flourish here……pass some legislation to bring in business and run out rif rafs and u’ll see an increase in ur tax base.

Disabled Tax Paying Senior Citizen in Clayton County

January 11th, 2011
3:29 pm

Doris M : “Seniors are on fixed incomes with most of them not receiving an increase this year. Most of them have high medical bills (mainly for prescription medicine) and that needs to be taken into consideration.”

God Bless You Doris; I can see that you know the real truth of our hardships as Senior Citizens. If anyone else would like to know, just pay a vitit to one of the local area doctor offices or Southern Regional Hospital. Besides having deductibles and co-payments, our medical drug medication prescriptions has, what is called “THE Don’t Hole”, which places our sole medication coverage from our own pockets.
Does this seem to matter to the elected officials in this county ? NO
The only thing that these elected officials are concerned about, is our votes and increasing our taxes for services that we don’t use or never needed in the first place.
Doris is right and she echoed me on this; Many Senior Citizens in our county cannot participate in these center because of failing health concerns.
Don’t forget; Most of our older native residents in this county put their hearts, souls, and very hard work into making Clayton County what it was at one time and many of these same citizens are still continuing to make last breath improvements and repairs from their death beds.
If you truly want to do something about our older native residents, quit relying on them to pull this county from the grips of failure.
And tell our county politicians to quit making more threats to raise our taxes, for services that we won’t use.

Disabled Tax Paying Senior Citizen in Clayton County

January 11th, 2011
4:05 pm

2DPoint::”Prices are going up for everything (gas (cars and homes, electricity, some bank fees, taxes on grocery possibly returning).”

What about the cost of medical expenses and prescription drugs ?

This topic should have more involvement by our Senior Citizens. Most of my blogs on this forum are a reflection of my life of living in Clayton County, but yet, my voice is seldom heard.
I have been called an old relic, a racist, or a part of history that this county don’t need anymore.
Well; My neighbors would disagree, because I still maintain the high water mark excellence in my immediate area.
There is not many of our older natives remaining in Clayton County and when we are gone, what will you have then ? Nothing but overgrown grass,empty restructures, and crime ? It seems as though, we are already seeing the signs of our vanishing existence in this county.

Tell The Truth

January 11th, 2011
6:33 pm

Let’s not jade the truth of this subject of seniors in Clayton county. Anybody 55 & older is eligible for membership at the Senior centers in Clayton County. Many of these seniors, like my parents, are still working and will not be on fixed incomes for another 10+ years. I know for a fact that a large number of these Senior Center members only use it to get the discounted rate so that they can go to the regular recreation centers without paying.

I think a better approach to the increases in fees would be to make it an age tiered increase. It doesn’t make any sense to lump a working 55 year old in the same category with a retired 75 year old. As for non-residents, they should be paying more for services that they don’t pay taxes for. If seniors from surrounding counties want to have the same access to our centers, then they need to have their county work with Clayton to help with the expenses and upkeep of the centers. Otherwise, the need to push to have centers built in the counties where they live. Remember Clayton’s property values/tax revenue are the lowest in the metro area and we are surrounded by counties with much higher property values/tax revenue. Thus, allowing people from more affluent counties to utilize Clayton’s resources for next to nothing is economically irresponsible. Maybe if Clayton was an affluent county with large tax surpluses, then would could begin to discuss this from a different perspective, but we are not and reality is biting us all. Yes, even senior citizens.

Disabled Tax Paying Senior Citizen in Clayton County

January 11th, 2011
6:45 pm

Please don’t confuse me with this poster “Tax Paying Senior Citizen in Clayton County” on this topic.

I’m assured that the native Retire Senior Citizens in Clayton County, would rather see the return of Success & Growth of Commercial and Industrial Industries what is once was in our county and they would probably want to pay any price to see it happen.
My measuring stick has alway been with the amount of Hardware Stores and Home Improvement Stores, located throughout the county; For me, that shows the pride that our residents are giving thought to improving their living conditions; Its called “Pride”.
Pride is something we should feel, all of the time; especially for our home environment. Far too many of our Clayton County residents place a lot emphasis on their vehicles, their clothes, their hair, or the front of their homes; I call this “Using a False Front” to make a statement about yourself.
Am I right or Am I wrong ?

Disabled Tax Paying Senior Citizen in Clayton County

January 11th, 2011
9:30 pm

“Should non-county residents pay more to use local recreation centers?”

Absolutely !!!

Where does these these funds, to build and support these centers come from ?
From Fulton County ? Dekalb County ? Henry County ? Fayette County ? Spalding County ?

Let it be a reminder that we also have Senior Centers in our cities in Clayton County and Forest Park also includes activities for Senior Citizens, at the indoor heated pool complex.

This is part of choosing Clayton County as the place for your family and the place for your home.

Take out is for fast food and visits are temporary, but family or social activities should be close to home. Sports & Recreational activities has always brought this county together.
What happen to our county to make us so separated ?
Was it politics ?
The clash of cultures ?
Our different opinions ?
Who is native to this county anymore ?

“When in Rome, Do as the Romans do”; This creed no longer has much meaning to some folks.

Tax Paying Senior Citizen in Clayton County

January 12th, 2011
2:39 pm

Disabled Tax Paying Citizen … Don’t worry your little white hair about being confused with me…we are extremely different…

2DPoint

January 12th, 2011
3:54 pm

Looks like there’s an overall consensus that the recent actions by the BOC to increase rates on Senior Citizens using the centers to this degree is wrong, plain wrong. If this is so, then the senior citizens of Clayton County should use all resources at their disposal (fighting as long and hard as it takes) to prevent this from happening or repeal it. It will only get worse if nothing is done.

Disabled Tax Paying Senior Citizen in Clayton County

January 12th, 2011
11:18 pm

With all of our problems in our county and our State, Why ponder on the most frivolous issues ?

This issue should be Cut and Dry, without any negotiations of any kind, whatsoever !

If anyone don’t want pay the toll fee, they can start looking for another road to use.

Disabled Tax Paying Senior Citizen in Clayton County

January 13th, 2011
12:05 am

Tell The Truth :
” It doesn’t make any sense to lump a working 55 year old in the same category with a retired 75 year old.”

I agree with you at some point on this issue; Thats what I thought,when I was 53 years old. When a turned 54 years old, I began a downward spiral into old age with a severe deteriorated spine. By the time I turned 55, I had prostate cancer and by time I was 56, I had two strokes,unwarned seizures, speech lose, and swollen limps. My dad is 79 years old and he is much healthier than I am today….55 is the warning track, regardless of what you might see in your future.

personal responsibility

January 13th, 2011
10:45 am

$180 per year is $15 per month. Seems that they are already being given a huge discount for what they receive. I’d love to pay $15 for a gym membership! If they don’t like it, they should move to Clayton.

That being said, Clayton should honor those memberships already paid for until they expire.

Tell The Truth

January 13th, 2011
2:01 pm

This is not an issue that should even take non-resident opinions seriously. Many of them are ‘former’ residents of Clayton County that moved to either Henry or Fayette. It’s not like their counties are paying for them to get lower rates. The grants are gone, so why would residents care if they have to pay $12 a year? It’s the same philosophy as with universities. If you are an out of state student you pay more. I don’t care if all your ‘friends’ are still in state, you still pay more. Let’s not try to reinvent the wheel with this issue. These outsiders are going to mess around and get these centers closed down for the residents of the county.

Tell The Truth

January 13th, 2011
2:12 pm

personal responsibility,
I agree wholeheartedly with your post. Can you imagine what would happen if I tried to sign my daughter up for school in a neighboring county? They would tell me the same thing the BOC told non-resident seniors at the centers, “either you become a resident of our county or you pay a premium for use of services that are in place for our residents.”

BTW, current members don’t have to pay until it’s time for them to renew.

Tax Paying Senior Citizen in Clayton County

January 13th, 2011
2:36 pm

Thank you voices of reason like Tell The Truth!

Disabled Tax Paying Senior Citizen in Clayton County

January 13th, 2011
3:20 pm

Three times that I agree to the terms of The BOC; The Day that Jeff Turner was relieved as The Chief of Police, The Day that The C-Tran was ended, and this issue. Everything else was expected.

Out of County Senior Citizen

January 13th, 2011
8:26 pm

Did the “BOC” spend just a few minutes to think about the decision to raise the annual dues and the conquence of their action? Did they not think about the members (5,400) that had already paid membership dues ( July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011)? Did they not think that raising dues effective January 1, 2011 would be a breach of contract? So far $2,376.00 have been spent on stamps to notify the members of the change. Since then more changes have been made, so there goes another $2,376.00 to notify the members again, That will be a total of $4,752.00. Do you think that maybe sometime in the very near future they will get it right? I thought they said there were a shortage of funds.

Tell The Truth

January 14th, 2011
3:06 pm

Out of County Senior Citizen,
They are not raising fees until it’s time for you to renew your membership.
If they didn’t send members anything, then you’d be saying that they didn’t contact anybody to let them know that fees are going up. That argument is lose/lose for the BOC. Postage is probably bulk anyway, so it won’t cost more than what’s already budgeted to spend. As a person that is not a resident of the county, $15 a month is a pretty good deal for you.

Disabled Tax Paying Senior Citizen in Clayton County

January 14th, 2011
6:51 pm

Out of County Senior Citizen; Since you don’t live in Clayton County, you can’t complain about anything that happens in our county, our services, or our elected officials. Your criticism is unwarranted on this issue.