James Rada, Jr.
(10/16) Equitable funding for
Thurmont area seniors has long been a
contentious issue between the Thurmont Senior
Center Board, the Thurmont Town Commissioners
and Frederick County Department of Aging.
However, after a meeting with all parties on
Oct. 8, momentum seems to me moving toward a
new lease between the Senior Center Board and
the town commissioners and a memo of
understanding between the commissioners and
the Department of Aging.
“There’s been a very strong adversarial
relationship between the Thurmont Senior
Center and the Department of Aging and we want
to get beyond that,” said Thurmont Senior
Commission Chairman Bill Buehrer.
A few weeks ago, the Department of Aging
prepared a list of expenses for all county
senior centers, which showed that the funding
the Thurmont Senior Center receives is roughly
equal to what the other centers receive.
However, it was pointed out that at least
$6,000 allocated to the Thurmont Center for
general operating expenses was actually for
one-time expenses. Another item not addressed
in the Oct. 8 meeting, but discussed in prior
meetings between the town commissioners and
the senior commission, is the fact that the
Thurmont Center apparently gets no benefit
from being a town-owned building which the
county did not have to pay to build.
Austin Abraham, director of management
services for Frederick County, said that the
arrangement between the county and the
Thurmont Senior Center is different from other
arrangements; in some ways because of choice,
in others because of the way it has evolved.
“This is a different arrangement and it’s
hard for us to get our hands around it,”
He said that was one of the reasons for the
meeting, to talk face to face and work through
some of the issues so that the county and town
could agree to a memo of understanding (MOU).
While there seemed to be little
disagreement over the 20-point MOU, one area
that raised some concern was an item that gave
the Department of Aging “exclusive” use of the
senior center between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
After some discussion, everyone realized
that the use item needed to be reworded and
that all the county had been seeking was that
any non-county activities be coordinated with
Anna Rollins at the senior center, to avoid
Another item was how much the county should
be paying for utilities. “I don’t think the
Department of Aging should be responsible for
any utility bill when you have a
non-senior-oriented event,” said Carolyn True,
director for the Frederick County Department
It was suggested that somehow the
non-senior events be pro-rated to reduce the
county costs. When this seemed to become too
complicated, the group decided that the town
would simply come up with a monthly cost for
utilities (electricity, water, natural gas and
custodial) and charge it to the county in the
form of rent rather than utilities.
By the end of the meeting, the group seemed
to have a direction to move toward. The county
will write up an MOU based on the comments
from the meeting and present it to the town.
Once the MOU is formalized, the town
commissioners will also be able to move
forward with signing the lease with the senior
Helen Deluca, who is both a member of the
Thurmont Senior Center Board and the Thurmont
Senior Commission, said she still had some
minor concerns, but all in all, “I like what I
The MOU is expected to be completed
sometime in January