Archive for the 'EHSC' Category



Bethel fuel sales tax corrected

Ordinance 06-05, to amend the sales tax code to provide an exemption for senior citizens’ heating fuel, was finally passed on 2006 July 25. The vote was 4 to 2 and 1 abstention. For, Hugh Dyment, Tundy Rogers, Andy McGowen, Mary Kenick. Against, Thor Williams, Dan Leinberger. Abstain, citing conflict of interest, David Trantham.

The ordinance was originally submitted in February 2006 by Councilor Trantham and again by Councilor Rogers. Hearings occurred at the March 28, April 11, April 25, June 13, and July 25 council meetings. The delay in action was a result of examining the costs of modifying the exemption (by the finance committee) and the request by several councilors to have the ordinance re-written. The ordinance was not re-written and was finally voted upon.

The finance department estimated that perhaps 85 people would take advantage of the exemption. A limited ad hoc survey found elders can be paying $350 to $600 per month for 75 to 100 gallons (coldest months). The City might lose $14,700 in annual tax; seniors might save $173 per year.

It should be noted —

  • as the finance department notes, there are no data on who might use the exemption and how many gallons of fuel oil (diesel) would be involved
  • 75 to 100 gallons a month seems like a lot of fuel. The amount depends primarily on the quality of housing and heating. For older people who are enrolled tribal members, their tribe or tribal housing consortium has a trust responsibility to ensure adequate housing

The finance committee recommended unanimously against the ordinance because it might result in requests for special treatment or exemptions from other groups and individuals. Churches were used as a specific example. Therefore, correcting the fuel oversight would result in a drain on City finances.

Councilor Dyment promised to create an ordinance for the next council meeting, which would cut $24,000 from other City services because of the senior exemption.

It should also be noted —

  • the ordinance corrects an oversight in the existing municipal code which grants a recognition to older Bethel people, because they are older, and is not means tested
  • some, but not all, churches currently have a city government subsidy (reduced garbage fees).
  • sales tax income is not guaranteed income for budgeting purposes
  • as the price of fuel goes up, the number of gallons sold tends to decrease. Why cut $24,000?
  • this is not the first time that the elderly have been blamed for City deficits

Exemptions and subsidies do subtract from potential City income. As you can see below, elders’ exemptions are only R, S, and T of the alphabet list. There was no data presented as to the financial hit of senior exemptions out of the total exempted sales tax income. If the issue were one merely of tax income and city spending, then perhaps all exemptions should be revoked, not just the ones for older people.

Certainly, the illegal exemptions should be revoked first.
[ORDINANCE #04-28, AN ORDINANCE AMENDING SECTION 13.16.010 OF THE BETHEL MUNICIPAL CODE TO REMOVE CHURCHES FROM A MONTHLY FLAT RATE OF $45.00 TO A RESIDENTIAL SERVICE RATE WITH A FLAT RATE OF $12.00. Introduced by: City Manager Herron Date: November 30, 2004
Public Hearing: January 11, 2004, Action: Adopted
Vote: 4-2 (Rodgers, Dyment)
ENACTED THIS 11th DAY OF JANUARY, 2005 by a vote of 4 in favor and 2 opposed. Hugh Dyment, Mayor]

Initially, the Finance Director said eight churches would qualify; then eleven. But there are 16 announced places of worship in the newspaper. And there are other organizations with Federal tax exemptions as churches.

The Supreme Court has held that “[t]he First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.” Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U.S. 97, 104 (1968).

This principle of neutrality “is part of our settled jurisprudence” and “prohibits government from abandoning secular purposes in order to put an imprimatur on one religion, or on religion as such, or to favor the adherents of any sect or religious organization. ” Texas Monthly, Inc. v. Bullock, 489 U.S. 1, 8-9 (1989) (plurality opinion) (quoting Gillette, 401 U.S. at 450). According to the text of the ordinance, the purpose for allowing churches to receive the same rates as residences for solid waste collection is that “churches are not like an ordinary business for profit” and “churches receive gifts and donations (not revenue), so Chapter 13.16.010 of the Code should charge churches with the lowest charge for solid waste services so as to treat churches fairly.”

Although government may provide a benefit to religious organizations without violating the Establishment Clause, the government must either provide this benefit to both religious and non-religious organizations that meet the same neutral criteria or the benefit must lift a substantial burden on the exercise of religion. Here, it is extremely unlikely that the commercial charge of $45 for solid waste collection places a substantial burden on the exercise of religion.

Thus, the ordinance can only be justified if it is extended to non-religious organizations as well. While it is true that residential dwellings receive the lower rate, if the city is going to extend the lower rate to churches, it should also extend the same rate to nonprofit organizations because the same rationale that was put forward for allowing churches to pay the lower rate (they do not have any revenue) would also apply to nonprofit organizations. Now, it may be the case that Bethel has no nonprofit organizations, which is why they were not included in the ordinance.

The Supreme Court has also held that providing a government benefit to one religious denomination while denying it to another constitutes an unconstitutional preference for one religion over others. See Bd. of Educ. v. Grumet, 512 U.S. 687, 706-07 (1994) (“whatever the limits of permissible legislative accommodations may be, it is clear that neutrality as among religions must be honored”).

Fuel oil sales tax was overlooked in the city codes which provide —

4.16.040 Exemptions.
R. The sale to a senior citizen of food intended for consumption by the senior citizen, his or her spouse living in the same household, or the unemancipated minor children of either the senior citizen or his or her spouse, who live in the same household. The senior citizen shall display at the time of the sale a current and valid senior citizen exemption certificate issued to the person under Section 4.16.050C of this chapter. For purposes of this subsection, “food” is defined in accordance with 7 U.S.C. 2012(g) (definition of “food” for purposes of the Food Stamp Act);
S. The payment of rent by a senior citizen on a single dwelling occupied as the senior citizen’s primary residence and permanent place of abode. The senior citizen shall provide proof at the time of payment of a current and valid senior citizen exemption certificate issued to the person under Section 4.16.050C of this chapter;
T. Payment for telephone, electric, water sewer utility services by a senior citizen on a single dwelling occupied as the senior citizen’s primary residence and permanent place of abode. The senior citizen shall provide proof at the time of payment of a current and valid senior citizen exemption certificate issued to the person under Section 4.16.050C of this chapter;

There is an additional credit —

13.16.070 Senior citizen credit.
A.
Any Bethel citizen at least sixty years of age residing in their own household shall receive up to a twenty-five-dollar monthly utility credit, if they are the primary source of income, after making application for such at the city utilities office.

B. All other Bethel citizens at least sixty years of age that do not meet the conditions of subsection A of this section shall receive up to a ten-dollar monthly utility credit after making application for such to the city utilities office.

C. Each residential unit shall be limited to one credit application. (Modification 2 of Ord. 85, 1980: prior code § 11.16.080)


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Jigsaw puzzles Stave off ageism

Stave puzzle, Tiffany lamp

I’m not sure what the proportion of grey hair or hairlessness triggers the attraction of older people to jigsaw puzzles. At a certain point, old people can’t do anything else except weekly BINGO (housie). Set out a puzzle or two and watch clients congregate.

To make life more challenging for elders, senior centers often use only the most beloved puzzles, with a couple of pieces missing.

Jigsaws are an especially valued activity for the senior center itself because if it does get visitors, the visitors will tell others– “They always look so busy up there!” And it keeps them quiet. 😉

But I don’t know why we have to get stuck with the same old-fashioned, simplistic ones that younger people choose. I think Dover Publishing offers 3-D towers and other structures and Brentano’s used to sell them, too.

The 2-D puzzles manufactured by Stave Puzzles are luscious to look at and while simple, are hardly simplistic.

http://www.stavepuzzles.com/

Let’s add them to the wish-list!

https://theelderlies.wordpress.com/2005/07/18/improve-our-community-by-better-serving-the-older-people/

O’Folks, off their rocker Add this to Bookmarks:

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Senior Services Transportation

senior bus steps 0

The photo is of Bethel’s senior bus. The bus makes rounds on a set schedule, but the schedule is infrequently posted on the bulletin board. The first step is at the level of the person’s knees. Note also the narrow doorway, the grab bars are inside, and the lack of assistance.

…Santa Fe Ride provides around-the-clock, curb-to-curb transportation for residents with disabilities and eligible seniors. It logs 150 to 200 trips a day, Granillo said.

Changes will include a telephone-reservation system and a service that lets customers schedule recurring trips up to two weeks in advance. Also, for the first time, city employees will drive customers between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Previously, the city contracted with Capital City Cab to transport all its clients to grocery stores, the doctor, friends’ houses and elsewhere in the city. The cab service still will transport Santa Fe Ride customers on weekends and from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday through Friday. …

One-way trips for riders holding an Americans With Disabilities Act card — issued by the city transit division — will still cost $2. Seniors with a “ride card” will continue to pay $5 per one-way trip. “I don’t see Santa Fe Ride fares going up,” Granillo said. The city has nine vans for the program, eight of them with raised roofs and mechanical lifts to accommodate wheelchair-bound customers, she said. The ninth vehicle is a minivan equipped with a ramp but not a mechanical lift. In some cases, Granillo said, seniors prefer the minivan because it is lower to the ground and easier to climb into and out of. If the minivans prove durable enough, the city might buy more, Granillo said….

http://www.freenewmexican.com/news/45473.html

Alaska FY2006 Nutrition Transportation and Support Services Awards

Anchorage region
ANCHORAGE CENTER INC.
$37,434

CHUGIAK SENIOR CITIZENS INC.
$133,268

MUNICIPALITY OF ANCHORAGE
$545,000

THE SALVATION ARMY
$772,163

VOLUNTEERS OF AMERICA/ALASKA
$50,000

Interior
FAIRBANKS NATIVE ASSOC.
$34,265

NENANA TORTELLA COUNCIL ON AGING
$83,956

NORTH STAR COUNCIL ON AGING
$149,227

TANANA TRIBAL COUNCIL
$40,000

UPPER TANANA DEVELOPMENT CORP.
$301,822

NATIVE VILLAGE OF FORT YUKON
$33,000

MINTO VILLAGE COUNCIL
$40,000

North Slope
NORTH SLOPE BOROUGH
$140,000

NW region
MANIILAQ
$31,246

NOME COMMUNITY CENTER
$210,000

South Central
CORDOVA COMMUNITY MEDICAL CENTER
$57,600

HOMER SENIOR CITIZEN
$123,000

KENAI, CITY OF
$104,969

MID-VALLEY SENIORS, INC.
$50,000

NIKISKI SENIOR CITIZENS, INC.
$15,000

PALMER SENIOR CITIZENS
$161,000

SELDOVIA VILLAGE TRIBE
$27,833

SENIOR CITIZENS OF KODIAK INC.
$185,000

SEWARD SENIOR CITIZENS INC.
$38,940

SOLDOTNA AREA SENIOR CITIZENS INC.
$45,000

VALDEZ SENIOR CITIZENS CENTER INC.
$31,563

STERLING AREA SR. CIITZENS
$13,599

WASILLA AREA SENIORS
$137,633

CATHOLIC COMMUNITY SERVICE
$923,068

SE
METLAKATLA INDIAN ASSOCIATION
$54,508

MT. VIEW FOOD SERVICES INC.
$22,815

ALASKA COMMUNITY SERVICES
$97,538

STW (?)
ALASKA LEGAL SVC CORP.
$132,159

OLDER PERSONS ACTION GROUP
$103,000

ALEKNAGIK, CITY OF
$6,597

SW
BRISTOL BAY NATIVE ASSOC.
$176,613

DILLINGHAM, CITY OF
$153,608

ORUTSARARMIUT NATIVE COUNCIL
$74,388

UNALASKA SENIOR CITIZENS
$23,620

KUSKOKWIM NATIVE ASSOCIATION
$26,797

LOWER KUSKOKWIM
$45,000

http://www.hss.state.ak.us/dsds/ntsforms/ntsawards.htm

Alaska FY2006 Adult Day Program Awards

Anchorage Community Mental Health – Daybreak Adult Day
$ 178,210

Catholic Community Services – The Bridge Adult Day
$ 100,088

Palmer Senior Citizens Inc. Adult Day Program
$ 136,509

Senior Citizens of Kodiak-Island Cove Adult Day Program
$ 103,169

Central Peninsula Mental Health – Forget-Me-Not Adult Day Program
$ 99,046

Salvation Army – Serendipity Adult Day Program
$ 165,538

Chugiak Adult Day Program
$ 115,328

ONC – Chrissie Shantz Adult Day Program
$ 101,271

Homer Senior Citizens Adult Day Program
$ 101,782

Fairbanks Resource Agency Adult Day Program
$ 120,385

Rendezvous Adult Day Program
$ 102,049

Nome Community Center- Munaqsri Adult Day Program
$ 89,694

http://www.hss.state.ak.us/dsds/hcbsforms/AdultDayAwards.htm


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Neglect of Bethel Elders again

October 2005

We’ve just had the third instance (at least) of an elder denied senior services (transportation) because of neglect. Adult Protective Services has been contacted each time. Cold weather is here and the elder is unable to walk home. The only two cabbies who would have conveyed him can no longer accept him (they are usually not near the senior center when the call comes in and the elder must remain outdoors waiting.) The situation is known to the senior director, who has in the past refused to speak to the cabbies reporting the neglect. The local paper Tundra Drums refused to assist in this latest instance when the cabbie went to them for information.

Aside from APS, where do people go to change the situation? Individuals on the Senior Advisory Board have been attacked by senior services personnel when bringing the issues to public attention (even at a City Council meeting.)

This is why older people must be active in their own lives. These are your services. When the senior services program itself denies services to elders, it is up to the rest of us to protest. We just need ideas to overcome the local news media reluctance to act; the City of Bethel’s refusal to act; and the ONC tribal government’s inaction.

[It should also be noted that the neglect was also reported to the regional health corp. with trust responsibility, Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corp. (YKHC), which runs the personal care program. YKHC was supposed to have an assisted living home opened last month, too, but which doesn’t even have a footprint staked out.]


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contact info Bethel senior services

Senior services have been transferred to Orutsararmiut Native Council, although the email addresses seem to remain with the City.
Senior Center
P.O. Box 1388
Bethel, AK 99559
Phone: 907-543-3989
Fax: 907-543-5787

http://tinyurl.com/z6akf


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Old age isn't a disease.

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