YOUR TURN: Should The City Charge Non-Profits to Use the Senior Center?

How do you think the city should cover costs for insurance and janitorial services?

Update: Councillor Neil Kinnon wrote in:

"The question on the Senior Center and allowing non profits to use for free is not really up for debate as some may have thought the other night.  The question is simply a matter of law.  You cannot provide it for free.  You also cannot pick and choose who you want to provide it to.  It must be in a policy,  fair and even handed that is the law."

Original story: City councillors tabled a proposal to charge non-profits a minimum of $50-300 for after hours use of Malden Senior Center Tuesday night, opting to revisit the proposal after considering issues raised by those in attendance.

Under the proposed fee schedule, groups of less than 20 people could rent a small room at the center for $50 an hour. Larger groups would be charged $100 an hour and required to reserve at least three hours at the facility.

Coucnillor Neil Kinnon said the proposed fee schedule barely covered insurance and janitorial costs for the facility, but representatives of local non-profits told the council the costs would be prohibitive for their organizations.

“Somebody will fall and someone will sue us. Someone will get sick, and sue us. God forbid anything (else) happens in there, they'll sue us,” Councillor Craig Spadafora said.

MATV Exec. Dir. Ron Cox told the board that the increased costs went against the founding vision of the center, which opened it's doors in 2009.

“It's more than the building...it is about groups coming together to use that facility, and these groups that can't afford to go anywhere else,” he said, adding that a vibrant Senior Center would bring more people to the city's downtown.

Cox said groups smaller than 20 people shouldn't have to pay anything, but supported requiring groups to leave a security deposit with the center.

“I agree with you 100%, it is prohibitive, and it is expensive,” Spadafora told the audience. “But I think (we) have to say...I am willing to work with you to come to a fair solution.”

"This is certainly not an anti-group policy," Councillor David D'Arcangelo said. "...I am sure you appreciate we need to try to charge something to make sure the building has maintenance...that we need insurance. I think this is a starting point."

The council will revisit the issue during it's next scheduled council meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 17.

What do you think? How should the city handle non-profit use of this public building? 

Jim Boston October 03, 2012 at 01:05 PM
There should be NO CHARGE for nonprofits using the facility during it normal operating hours(in which the city is already paying the buildings expenses). But, after hours they should pay at cost fee that covers the expenses, janitorial, insurance, etc... That’s fair to the citizens of Malden and those who want the use of a first class building
Steve C. October 03, 2012 at 01:11 PM
There is a liability risk when property is rented ,even on a short term basis. It is Not discriminatory to charge a fee for renting a space. Would a Non-Profit charge a fee to rent a space on their property? Of course they would... Business is business.
Michael Victor October 03, 2012 at 02:45 PM
I think the better question is should my tax dollars be going to a non profit group? If its one I like great if its one I don't no. Who decides? Why wouldn't every non profit group sign up for a free hall, kitchen and auditorium or meeting room? This is a rat hole.
Gene Pinkham October 03, 2012 at 05:12 PM
No one (except MHS) can use the football field without proof of insurance. The Senior Center should be no different.
allamericancity1967 October 03, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Could someone tell us how much this Senior center cost the taxpayers when it was acquired/built ? AND how much does it cost per year to operate?
Blue October 03, 2012 at 05:32 PM
That is a great question. When the public safety budget was being cut and fudged this place was built. It doesn't make much sense to me. Who works in the building and who are they related to. I believe a former councilors wife runs the center.
david mokal October 03, 2012 at 06:58 PM
When it was built or reburbished existing building according to the posts that were on The Malden Observer it went for the tune of $8 million.
AnnieOMalden October 03, 2012 at 07:20 PM
What time is the parking sticker meeting at the Senior Center tonight?
Shea Kaisie October 03, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Truthfully, I do not see the issue as being the question entirely of nonprofits using the building, since the Malden Windows Art group who will be using the building this week free of charge is a group of independent artists. Their purpose is to advertise their art for sale by using various store fronts in the downtown area. It seems to me that they are a group of business people. Since this is business they should pay for the rental space just like any other business group does. Or should the city allow all businesses to use the space free of charge? My other thought is that actual nonprofits in the city have been refused use of the Senior Center. Other groups have been allowed. The Senior Center was constructed with Federal funds. The city is clearly discriminating by their behavior. I have a problem with all of this.
robert wilson October 03, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Sure, why not charge the non-profits, they charge to use their properties, as the old saying goes, there is no free lunch.
Ken Mazonson October 04, 2012 at 03:14 PM
I think that the fee to use the Malden Senior Center should be whatever the cost is to the City of Malden to open it up for those hours of use by the non-profit group. It should not be used as a source of finding additional revenue for the city. The group, by the very words in the title "non profit" are doing something to benefit the community, not to put money into someone's pockets. Since the City of Malden is self-insured and liability is a major factor in deciding whether or not these groups should use this place, I would suggest that the group should be required to purchase a liability policy for the time they plan to use it. Insuring one night functions are very reasonable. I don't know what the cost of the janitorial services are for this building or who actually performs this function, but if there is an additional cost because it is beyond the normal hours that someone would be there, then I think the group should pay for that as well (and be split if more than one group is using different rooms at the same time).
fred October 04, 2012 at 03:42 PM
well said ken. you do a great job running baskets for our youths. you should be running all our sports programs in the city.


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