HUDSON — The Common Council on Tuesday unanimously passed a proposed local law that would create a department of senior services.
Mayor Kamal Johnson is holding a public hearing on the law at 3 p.m. on Aug. 3.
The council also on Tuesday approved an $8,000 transfer from the city fund balance for part-time cleaning services at the Senior Center. The City Hall cleaner’s duties were recently split between City Hall and the Senior Center and it was determined that a dedicated part-time cleaner should be reinstated at the Senior Center.
The Senior Center has been lumped in with the youth department instead of being part of its own department, Commissioner of Aging Robyn Waters said.
“Historically, the senior center has been part of the youth department in terms of how our invoices are entered, how people are paid and all of the procedural matters are through the youth department,” she said Wednesday.
The law would amend the city charter to establish an independent senior department. The department would then be able to hire its own staff and maintain operations, Waters said.
The charter provision for a commissioner of aging would be replaced with a department of senior services and commissioner of senior services.
“That way we can build the department based on the needs for the seniors, so we can respond to the needs of the community,” Waters said.
The council finds that creating a department for senior services in the city charter will embody the council’s belief that senior services should be a priority of city government, according to the resolution.
The coordinating services for seniors can be challenging, Waters said.
The goal of the senior center, which is just about four years old, is to provide a hub where people can access resources, particularly for food security and transportation to access essentials. The goal of becoming a department is to be able to fulfill the center’s mission and also to expand programing.
Waters said she would like the center to eventually get more staff so it can be open full time but she does not want the budget to be significantly raised.
“We don’t want to create a tax burden for people,” she said. “We don’t want to increase taxes.” A clerk would help facilitate administrative duties and a director would help with future program development, she said.
As a department, the center would need a director, but the focus is on getting a clerk first, Waters said.