By: Benjamin J. Gohs, Associate Editor
While he didn’t go so far as to call it a crisis, Charlevoix County Commission On Aging Executive Director Jack Messer said the seriousness of issues facing the COA is not overstated.
Messer came before the board on Sept. 28, to request a comprehensive gathering of COA stakeholders and pertinent county officials.
“There are trends and demographics on the horizon that are beginning to impact us today that have a profound effect on the services that the commission on aging is performing,” he said. “I have tried to isolate those component factors and begin to formulate a plan for dealing with them and in doing that I have come to realize that there are some fundamental changes that need to be discussed that I believe rise to the level of commissioners being involved with those discussions.”
Messer added, “We have artificially supported the level of services we are providing by deficit spending and we can’t sustain. We will run out of money.”
Messer also said the county has a large increase in the number of seniors entering the population, and the impact that has on the services provided by the COA need to be addressed.
“We need to proactively begin now to make adjustments in the course that we choose for the future in order to be prepared to meet those needs,” he said. “Because of that I have been reporting through the personnel committee our concerns and based on that I have done a lot of research and I have engaged the advisory board to assist me with this.”
Messer requested a committee of the whole meeting of the county board to discuss real and potential issues as well as possible solutions.
“Without being able to do that I’m afraid that each of you would peace-meal the information and it would be difficult for us to provide a level of consistency that I think is necessary for you to make an informed decision,” he said.
A committee of the whole meeting has been scheduled for 9 a.m. on Thursday Oct. 27 in the Pine Lake Room.