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?