Montclair, NJ – Every day, all of us, get a little older. Montclair Gateway to Aging in Place (mGAP) has been campaigning to secure the support of Montclair’s Town Council to make Montclair age-friendlier and to make sure everyone, 55 years and older — and all who stand with them — have a voice in Montclair’s future.
Out of Montclair’s $92 million budget, the Division of Senior Services received only $352,000, less than one half of one percent of the total. Montclair residents over the age of 55 are a solid and stable tax base. We pay our fair share of costs for municipal services including support for our schools. We are not suggesting reductions in allocations for schools or Township services. Rather, we are calling upon our Council members to review priorities, re-allocate funding accordingly and expand opportunities to grow the financial pie to remedy this financial inequity.– Montclair Gateway to Aging in Place
Montclair Gateway to Aging in Place has started a petition drive and is urging supporters (Montclair residents and registered voters) to sign the petition. And to help raise awareness, Montclair Gateway to Aging in Place has also created buttons (pictured below) for supporters to wear. (Contact email@example.com to get yours).
A good and important effort. But given most Township funding is for services that support all residents, it seems disingenuous to talk about the numbers this way. I think police, fire, sanitation, snow plowing, parks, pools and everything the town pays for is for everyone and proportional. Maybe compare senior services to recreation department if wanting to properly contextualize the situation.
Au contraire, Jean O. All taxpayers in Montclair pay for all services regardless of individual use. Some of us have never needed specific police, ambulance, or fire services; some of us cannot use the parks or the pools owing to issues of access. Some of us do not have and never had kids in Montclair’s schools. And some of us have no “community” where we, too, can go hang out, read a book, chat, see a friendly face, compare the prices of our groceries or our medications or get some help or advice about those very taxes we’re STILL paying. Isolation is a known threat to quality-of-life. Senior Services (to the extent that we have any) are not just another variety of recreation; they are vital. The “context” you miss is that we all live here and we all pay for stuff that we don’t individually use; that’s what “community” means. If you stay here long enough and stay well, you’ll want those “Senior Services” too.
Our parents aged and passed in Montclair. Before their infirmities limited their mobility they got around. They were walking distance to a lunch place and they befriended the owners, they hung out. They participated in a few senior-type activities at the library and Y and those sponsored by the Township. Dad was not into the activities at all but Mom liked to participate. Not all were hits. Me: “How was the event at the library?” Mom: “Just some old men talking about war!”
Prior to their coming to Montclair, they’d been living on a dirt road in a rural area and one advantage here are the sidewalks that make it easy to take walks, day and night. When Mom was in a wheelchair and we’d walk from her place, half the time we had to be in the road due to the sidewalk being too bumpy for the wheelchair. And wheelchair or not, lots of Montclair’s sidewalks present trip hazards. So as I think about what more Montclair can do for its seniors, sidewalks are the top thing.
Everyone, all township residents, benefit from flat sidewalks, seniors more than most. Why not mount a grassroots campaign to speak with neighbors who have bad sidewalks? And since sidewalk repair has mysterious pricing and is generally costly, the Township can do something in support, and at no cost, by coming up with a list of vendors with which it negotiates a fair deal for re-setting or replacing bluestone, or for concrete work. Or forget the Township, we have very creative seniors here in Montclair who could do this, label it “Stroll Montclair” or something similar.