Selwyn Harris / Pahrump Valley Times - RSVP representative Jan Lindsey (left) and volunteer Pearl Riggen make their case to town board members about the bleak financial situation the agency is now in. On Tuesday the board voted against providing funds to the respite care program that RSVP provides to local disabled seniors.
A serious financial blow was dealt to an area agency dedicated to providing much needed assistance to local seniors.
RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) supports the well-being of Pahrump’s disabled and older population.
The program offers various services, including transportation, home companionship and respite care.
The latter it appears may be the first on the chopping block due to dwindling funds.
RSVP representative Jan Lindsey told town board members the respite program provides relief several times a week for family caregivers forced to care for their loved ones full time.
The volunteers are trained, go through a background check, and are carefully matched with caregivers and their loved ones.
Even though the service is nearly cost-free, Lindsey could not convince the board to assist in funding the program.
Lindsey was only seeking $7,500 from the town.
“Our respite volunteers go into a home for about four hours once a week to stay with the client while the homemaker takes a much needed break. They are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week and they generally cannot afford to pay for some kind of home health care because it’s very expensive,” she said.
Lindsey appeared before the board last month with her initial request for funds.
On Tuesday she said recent developments have created even more hardship for the program after two volunteers quit the program.
“We lost two volunteers due to illness and accidents but I cannot replace them.” she told the board. “That means we will have senior families on a waiting list and the families are dealing with Alzheimer’s, which in itself is debilitating. I will be doing respite volunteer work for the next while and I cannot bring other people on board and cannot continue the program unless we do get some support from the town.”
Though all board members listened to Lindsey’s presentation with a sympathetic ear, it was apparent that the funding would not be granted by virtue of fiscal responsibility.
The 2014 adopted town budget does not include any funding for nonprofits.
Board Vice Chair Bill Dolan said an occurrence at the town’s main fire station caught town officials off-guard earlier this summer when black mold was discovered inside.
The mold issue and costs associated with its subsequent mitigation was addressed during the meeting.
The town paid more than $6,800 to Belfor Property Restoration in Las Vegas recently to remediate the contamination.
“I believe we all received notice that the mold abatement was taken care of. Do we have more mold that we don’t know about?” Dolan asked Town Manager Susan Holecheck.
The town manager told the board that such unexpected situations require the town to have funds set aside to remedy the matter, which in part doomed Lindsey’s request for assistance.
“The last of the Belfor Property Restoration bill is there and the mold has been remediated. There have been contingencies that have occurred this year that we didn’t budget for. No one ever suspected that there would be mold and we certainly wanted to abate and remediate that as quickly as possible,” she said.
Town board member Amy Riches said as much as she would like to see the respite program continue, the town has additional priorities that trump Lindsey’s proposal.
“This is not my money. This is the people’s money and I know that you are a nonprofit agency. I just don’t feel that I have the purview to use the people’s money for this. We have a senior center in town and they also do a lot and they have not once asked us for money,” she said.
Board member Bob Adams raised the question on whether other area agencies would offer assistance.
Lindsey’s response was direct and to the point.
“It’s very hard for a 501(c)3 to go to another 501(c)3 and ask for help because everyone is stretched and I understand that. I know the town is stretched also,” she said.
Lindsey, meanwhile, told the board that she has exhausted virtually every available resource in search of funding to keep the program alive.
Following further discussion, the agenda item died due to lack of a motion from the board.
Lindsey said she will continue to seek funding for the program by other possible means.
Two agenda action items pertaining to an agreement with Roadshows Inc., for a motorcycle rally in Pahrump and the establishment of fees for major events in area parks were tabled until a future meeting.