ELDERLY COMMISSION MEETING
SPECIAL MEETING: October 22, 2007 at 5:00pm
East Windsor Town Hall
Meeting Minutes of October 22, 2007:
I. Meeting called to order at 5:06pm, by Claire Badstubner, Chairman.
Present Members: Claire Badstubner (Chairman), Elizabeth Burns (Municipal Agent), Trevor Bray, Madeleine Thompson, Deb Donovan
Absent Members: Catherine Drouin
Guests: Ed Filipone (EW First Selectman) and Chris Casey (Chris Casey Concepts/ITN)
III. Previous Minutes:
Regular Meeting 2/26/07, 3/26/07, 4/23/07 and 9/24/07:
MOTION made by Mr. Bray to accept minutes of the above regular meetings, as presented. SECONDED by Ms. Badstubner.
IV. Members Update:
Commission officially welcomed new member, Deb Donovan.
V. Meeting Time:
MOTION made by Mr. Bray to change meeting time to 5:00pm from 11:30am, on the fourth Monday of each month. SECONDED by Ms. Donovan. ALL IN FAVOR, MOTION PASSED.
Memo to be sent to Town Clerk to notify change of meeting times.
Commission agreed to cancel December 24, 2007 meeting due to the holiday. Memo to be sent to Town Clerk for posting.
VI. Guest Speaker:
Chris Casey (Chris Casey Concepts – Marketing Solutions) spoke to the commission as a representative of ITN (Independent Transportation Network). ITN is a new transportation service becoming available (Spring, 2008) in North Central CT.
Ms. Burns introduced Ms. Casey and gave a brief background regarding the $50k state grant for senior transportation - available to five regions.
Ms. Casey began with a background of how ITN began (1995 in Portland, ME) and how ITN surfaced in North Central CT. Ms. Casey handed out information on the background of ITN. Ms. Casey explained that Pam Brown (Enfield) applied for this transportation grant and approached ITN to help establish 10 surrounding towns in North Central CT to participate and utilize their services.
Ms. Casey further explained that ITN needs to match the state’s grant with $25k in order to go forward in creating a transportation system. ITN would be an affiliate to N. Central CT towns within this grant.
Ms. Casey stressed that this transportation system is not designed to replace the town’s current Dial-A-Ride, but to be an alternative transportation choice for people over the age of sixty. Ms. Casey also stated that this system would not work for everyone as there are physical limitations that apply and the cost may be an issue for some seniors. Ms. Casey did add that this program is available to members 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.
ITN is currently looking for donated vehicles (cars), volunteers (drivers and administrative) and members. ITN working to get to each community to get their word out and find volunteers and donations. Ms. Casey explained that ITN will do “community teas” and provide refreshments for any size group, at any location (i.e. senior center or a home with neighbors). ITN will do as many “teas” as needed.
The annual membership fee will be $40-50/yr for single person and $60-70/yr for family. Additional costs to utilize the program include a pick-up fee (varies depending on when pickup is initially scheduled) and a charge per mile. Ms. Casey explained that costs can be shared between riders. Members establish a debit account (money put into account via flat payment, volunteering, gift certificates, sale/donation of vehicle).
Question and Answer Session:
First Selectman Filipone: How is insurance/liability handled for volunteer drivers?
Ms. Casey: There is a bill currently in the legislature as to how volunteer drivers are covered. It states that such drivers are covered in the event of an accident, that it is like you were “driving a friend”. There would be no negative effect on driver’s insurance.
Ms. Donovan: Would driver need to carry specific coverage amount?
Ms. Casey: No, just what they currently have for insurance coverage.
First Selectman Filipone: Can the driver be sued?
Ms.Casey: Yes, that is a possibility, if there is an accident for example.
Ms. Badstubner: Is there a required number of members, per town, in order to participate in transportation program?
Ms. Casey: There are no criteria that each town would need a minimum number of members in order to participate. The transportation program encompasses N. Central CT as a whole, not individually by towns.
Ms. Badstubner: Would Hartford be the farthest drive location?
Ms. Casey: Yes, because going beyond Hartford/N. Central CT would be cost prohibitive for ITN and its members.
Ms. Thompson: Are there paid employees?
Ms. Casey: Yes, because ITN needs to guarantee that they are available 24/7. Therefore, ITN does have some paid drivers, office help and a director.
First Selectman Filipone: Do you want cars to use in a fleet or to sell?
Ms. Casey: Both – depending on the condition of the car would decide whether it is to become part of the fleet or to sell.
Ms. Thompson: Are you finding enough volunteers in Portland (ME) to support this program?
Ms. Casey: Yes, there have been enough volunteers within the program.
Mr. Bray: Concerns of restrictions: why restrict to cars only?
Ms. Casey: Research has shown that most seniors do not prefer to use a bus/van.
Mr. Bray: Since this is a community-based program (“more relaxed”), could a pick-up truck be used?
Ms. Casey: Cars are promoted to take away the stigmatism of buses/vans. This is what criteria were set up through ITN America – there have been no issues at this point, but will look into the use of pickup trucks.
First Selectman Filipone: Do the fleet cars have access to reduced gas/repair prices?
Ms. Casey: Enfield has established city/state prices for gas. Working on establishing a working relationship with a local garage for maintenance/repairs.
First Selectman Filipone: How is gas/maintenance handled with a volunteer’s car?
Ms. Casey: That is the volunteer’s responsibility; however, there is a tax incentive in regards to mileage.
Ms. Thompson: Will there be a central location – for business office, fleet cars?
Ms. Casey: Yes, currently ITN is considering East Windsor as the “central location”. Details are currently being worked out.
Mr. Bray: Who takes care of the “sales” of the program?
Ms. Casey: The executive director and paid staff will do sales for the organization.
Ms. Thompson: What stage is this program in through out the country?
Ms. Casey: Portland, ME received a $2.5million grant to establish this program through out the country. Successful programs currently in Orlando, Charleston, and Santa Monica. Our area (and 20 affiliates) is in the “next area group” in regards to the grant.
Ms. Badstubner: Is this a “one-time” grant?
Ms. Casey: Yes, the state grant is a one-time grant, but ITN is applying for other grants (i.e. Hartford Foundation).
Ms. Donovan: What is the profile of the person utilizing this transportation system?
Ms. Casey: There are varying profiles.
Mr. Bray: What is the age requirement?
Ms. Casey: 60 and over or visually impaired (any age)
Ms. Donovan: Is this web-based?
Ms. Casey: Yes, itnamerica.org
Mr. Bray: Has government gotten involved early on with the idea of starting something like this?
Ms. Casey: Not that she is aware of. ITN is a non-profit organization. There are, however, some local government officials who do support this idea and are pushing for grants.
Ms. Donovan: What is our (Elderly Commission’s) role in this, as a group?
Ms. Burns: Elderly Commission can “sponsor” informational groups/”teas”. Sponsoring such “teas” is an introductory way to inform people of this program.
Mr. Bray: Is the Elderly Commission to promote this?
Ms. Badstubner: We need to know the cost, first.
Ms. Burns: Ms. Casey will have information ready to answer questions at the “teas”.
End Question and Answer Session
Ms. Badstubner gave overview to Ms. Casey regarding the commission’s previous attempts to reach seniors and get feedback regarding transportation. Ms. Badstubner stressed that seniors are more receptive when approached in their “own domain” (i.e. Park Hill in the evening, Spring Village, etc.)
Ms. Burns also suggested doing a tea at some of the churches in town as you may reach younger family members, as well, who may want information for a parent.
Other suggested “Community Tea” locations were:
Spring Village (already scheduled – 11/15 @ 11:00am Community Room)
Ms. Burns stated that the “teas” would need to be advertised in the paper via “press release” once dates and locations are established.
Ms. Donovan expressed concern over the time frame. Ms. Casey had stated that program will have its “first ride” in the Spring, 2008. Ms. Donovan concerned that there is limited time to get the information out to the public and answer questions by spring.
MOTION made by Ms. Donovan to adjourn meeting at 6:15pm. SECONDED BY Ms. Thompson.