Senior centers to get new sponsors

By Tova Fruchtman: Quay County Sun

Tucumcari city commissioners met with city officials on Tuesday to discuss the prospect of taking over sponsorship of area senior citizen centers.

A letter signed by the Tucumcari City Manager Richard Primrose and Quay County Manager Terry Turner was sent to the Eastern New Mexico Area Agency on Aging on April 5 stating Quay County would no longer sponsor the Tucumcari, Logan and House Senior Citizens Centers.

“The County regrets this difficult decision,” it read, “but feels, with our small staff; we do not have the adequate resources to successfully facilitate the senior sites.”

The plan was to transfer control of the sites to the city of Tucumcari beginning July 1.

Turner said he thought the city was more well equipped to handle the sponsorship.

“The county just doesn’t have the resources to continue to sponsor the senior citizen centers,” Turner said. “For instance, I had to reward employees comp time when they worked on the weekend. If an employee worked on a Saturday, then I had to give that employee a day off during the week sometime during the next 30 days.”

Turner said the county started talking to city officials about the transition about eight months ago.

“I don’t think anyone will notice a difference in services when the city takes over sponsorship of the senior citizen centers.”

At the regular city commission meeting on Thursday, commissioners tabled approving sponsorship of the centers because of concerns about what it would cost the city to run the program.

The work session on Tuesday seemed to clear up the concerns.

“If we structure our budget correctly, I really think there is money available,” said City Manager Richard Primrose, of money available from AAA to pay for the programs at the senior centers.

Primrose also said he was working with officials in House and Logan to see how the municipalities could work together to sponsor the programs. Each already is responsible for the upkeep of the buildings in their city.

By the end of the meeting the commissioners seemed supportive of the turnover.

“ I think we’ve got a moral obligation to do this, as well as a physical one,” Commissioner James Witcher said.

Commissioner Antonio Apodaca said he wants to make sure if the city sponsors the program it is the best one in the state.

“We don’t want to have a program if it’s just going to be mediocre,” he said.

The commission will vote on whether to approve the sponsorship at the next city commission meeting at 6 p.m. on April 28 at City Hall.