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Opinion

Bath senior center proposal ‘wrong-headed,’ says Bath senior

10/18/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

It appears that the Citizens for Bath Seniors are at it again. They are once more circulating the notion that the taxpayers of Bath Township owe them the luxury of a dedicated senior center. This center, as estimated by Trustee Elaina Goodrich using the Richfield Township program as a model, would cost the township approximately $300,000 to $500,000 to construct and $84,000 per year to maintain. During a 10-year period, this represents a township outlay of $1.14 to $1.34 million. That’s a lot of hard-earned taxpayer monies to provide Bath seniors with their own clubhouse, and that’s just the first 10 years.

I have to question the soundness of directing that level of township resources towards a facility to be constructed for the sole use of this one segment of the Bath population. Moreover, I fail to see how it is the responsibility of local government (taxpayers) to build and maintain such a facility dedicated strictly to local seniors. Bath is not a poor community. I would suspect that most of Bath seniors can well afford the $15 per year membership offered by the Richfield Recreation Center as an alternative to saddling the township with a long-term facility that is purposefully designed to benefit only a portion of all residents.

Doubtless, some of those seniors who feel underserved by the township will respond that the community has already built and supports recreational and ball fields for residents. This is true, but that fact alone does not justify during these exceptionally difficult economic times the additional expenditure of even more township resources for such a special purpose facility. Most clear-headed citizens understand the time has come where it is now appropriate to draw some lines as to what constitutes prudent investment of taxpayer funds and what represents special interest luxury. Those that don’t evidently have been living under a rock for the past four years.

Upon learning of this proposal by the Citizens for Bath Seniors, I was dismayed that this group would demonstrate such an attitude to entitlement that it would demand of its fellow taxpayers the construction of what amounts to a clubhouse so as not to inconvenience its own members by suggesting that they arrange for other available and more reasonable accommodations. No wonder so many in younger generations consider today’s seniors to be wedded to a culture of entitlement. Then perhaps, there are those seniors who feel that their lifetime of taxpaying and service to the community entitles them to such a facility. It does not. As we all know, taxes are forever and community service has altruism at its core, not recompense.

For my money, as a township resident of 25 years and a senior in Bath, a proposal such as this one is decidedly wrong-headed and should be well down the list of Bath Township fiscal priorities. In a community this economically gifted, it is almost embarrassing to identify myself as a senior in a township that includes other seniors who would put forth such a self-centered and narrow-minded public proposal.  

For those of you for whom the shoe fits, meet and play shuffleboard all you want, but do it on your own dime.

Mark Fiocca, Bath

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