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Reflection Connection: Kathy Shelp, Sr. Center Director

[EDITOR: Public meetings and reporting assignments occasionally produce thought-provoking reflections and comments that often don’t fit neatly into a news story. ‘Reflection Connection’ is our place for publishing interesting observations, musings and bits of wisdom. Here we have excerpted some comments made by Senior Center Director Kathy Shelp addressing the Prescott Review Town Meeting Committee during discussions leading to a recommendation to build a new Senior Center on Farmers Row These comments have been slightly edited for clarity.

Let’s say you’re buying a piece of land for $300,000, what would that amount of money mean to me? Let’s say you said ‘Kathy, you can have $300,000 for your budget.’ Well, $300,000 would double my operating budget – outside of salaries and wages. It would double my operating budget for 32 years. I repeat that: It would double my operating budget for 32 years.

I have asked for five additional hours for our activities coordinator for there years and I get denied every time. That $300,000 would buy my activities coordinator five extra hours a week for 52 years. Also, $300,000 dollars would put my van on the road for 19 hours a week on evenings and weekends for 13 years.

That amount of money would have a direct impact on the residents. So, when we talk about buying additional property for $300,000, I ask what could that $300,000 do for the schools, or the fire department, or the police department?

So, if we’re going to buy land for $300,000, $500,000 or a million dollars then what are the benefits to the town? When we stand in front of Town Meeting, what will we say is the benefit of buying that land? I’m not advocating for any one property. But what is the justification to spend that amount of money?

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