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Senior Groups, Ft. Wright Uncertain About Meeting Place Agreement

When Ft. Wright City Administrator Jill Bailey received a bill for $1,200 from the Ft. Wright Civic Club, she was surprised.

Turns out, it is the cost to rent the space for one Wednesday each month to accommodate meetings of the Hilltoppers and the Young Grandmothers Club, organizations based in the city.

Bailey said that she investigated and found that the city had paid the same amount in 2017, but did not receive a bill in 2018. The Civic Club was not sure why a bill was not sent that year.

Both organizations have held their meetings at the club since 2010, and representatives presented a letter from the city supporting their rental of the facility signed in 2011 by then-administrator Gary Huff.

Bailey said that the city appears to have lost track of any agreement, if there ever were one.

Mayor Dave Hatter said that he had been on city council or mayor for 22 years and was not aware of any agreement.

Members of the two groups said that they did not understand why the city would withdraw their monetary support of the groups.

The city owns the Southern Hills Civic Club, and Hatter suggested that the organizations could use that one instead. The Ft. Wright Civic Club is private.

Hatter said that if Southern Hills were used, the organizations would be charged with breaking down the rooms and cleaning it up, tasks that the groups' senior citizen members may not be able to do.

Bailey explained that the groups are independent, not affiliated with the city, so legally, the city could not just allocate funds for the meetings. She said that some local cities have senior groups sponsored by the city, and that in Ft. Wright, it would require a change that would require the city to insure the organizations and approve their bylaws. There would also be city audits of funds.

Hatter said that the issue would be explored by the community improvement committee and he and Bailey encouraged the organizations to search out of other funding methods or places they could meet.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor