Free Soil and senior center continue to work out differences.

November 15, 2016

freesoil_village_councilFree Soil and senior center continue to work out differences.

#FreeSoil.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

FREE SOIL — The Free Soil Village Council has extended its contract with the Free Soil Senior Center an additional month to allow the senior center board time to review the village’s offer of keeping the existing lease as is.

See related story here.

Over the past several months, the senior center board has been expressing its dismay with the village council over the use of the Free Soil Community Center, the former school gymnasium. The seniors have sent several letters to the village council listing their dissatisfaction with the condition of the building. The senior center annual lease expired the end of September and during its regular monthly meeting in October, the village council agreed to extend the lease an additional month. That extension expired Monday night.

freesoil_seniorsDuring Monday’s November meeting, Village President David Morley offered the senior center board a renewal of the annual lease and said that the board will make efforts to make improvements to the community center as finances allow. Representatives of the senior center said they would need to discuss the offer and asked to have until Dec. 1 to decide if they would sign it. They also told the village council that they would like to find a new location.

The senior center receives funding from the Mason County Council on Aging and is required to use a licensed kitchen to serve meals. The community center is a licensed kitchen.

In a letter to the village council, the senior center board asked for a continuation of the lease with the inclusion of a 30 day termination notice. The letter also asked for the two sides to communicate with written correspondence. The letter proceeded to also ask for some changes in storage facilities and asked for repairs to be made to lighting in the kitchen and the for the acoustics to be fixed in the dining area.

After Village Treasurer Keith Nimitz read the letter, Morley repeated that the village council would renew the previous lease and that it would address the senior concerns as money allowed, with priority being put on the acoustics. He added that the village council is willing to continue to send two representatives to meet with the a limit number of senior center board members in order to discuss concerns.

Following the meeting, some of the council members and village representatives expressed their dissatisfaction and frustration with the senior center board. Morley said he does not want the senior center to leave Free Soil.

“The people of Free Soil do not want them to leave,” he said. “We have been trying our darnedest to keep them here.”

“This is just unfortunate,” Nimitz said, adding that some of the correspondence from the senior board has been defamatory.

Morley also explained that he left the October meeting early because of a heart condition.

The next village council meeting is Monday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Free Soil/Meade Fire Department.

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