Windsor Town Council accepts MOU with Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia

Published 2:09 pm Friday, August 19, 2022

The Windsor Town Council voted 4-1 on Tuesday, Aug. 9, to accept a Memorandum of Understanding with Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia that was needed to allow the organization to provide senior services at the Windsor Town Center.

Councilman George Stubbs cast the lone dissenting vote, and Councilman Jake Redd was not present.

William Saunders

Windsor Town Manager William Saunders opened the subject of the MOU on Tuesday by reviewing how the council had tasked town staff with researching potential insurance and utility cost increases related to the SSSEVA proposal. He added that the council also directed the forwarding of the draft MOU to Isle of Wight County administration for its review to ensure that no conflict existed with agreements on the provision of programs by Isle of Wight Parks and Recreation at the town center and that the proposal met with the county’s plan for senior service programs.

Then Saunders shared the results of town staff’s follow-through on the council’s directives.

“Regarding insurance, our insurance provider, the Virginia Risk Sharing Association, felt that the

$5 million total coverage might be higher than necessary but that they would provide an estimate if necessary,” he said. “However, if the total coverage in the MOU were revised to the town’s current total coverage of $3 million, there would be no increase in the coverage costs. After consultation with the town attorney, the total coverage in the latest draft of the MOU has been revised down from $5 million to $3 million.”

Addressing utility costs, he noted that the difference in costs of utilities at the town center from prior to the existence of Parks and Rec programs there to after were not conclusive. 

“This is partly due to the number of other factors that have caused irregular utility usage amounts beyond the programs, or lack thereof, in the center,” he said. “I would estimate that there’s at least $200 to $300 a month more for utility costs when programs are being run in there versus when they’re not.”

Saunders also said that the draft MOU was forwarded to the Isle of Wight County administrator and attorney for their review and comment, and they stated that the draft presented to the council entering Tuesday’s meeting was fine and that they had no objection to the proposal.

Kelly Blankenship

As council members began to offer comments, Councilwoman Kelly Blankenship drew attention to Section III.B.3 of the MOU, which stated that the town “will cover all utilities, routine cleaning, refuse & recycling, insurance, supplies, maintenance, and all repairs which do not fall under Section III.A.2, for the facility.”

“I thought we had talked about clarifying those ‘supplies’ to say ‘facility supplies’ or something so that there’s no implication that we would provide supplies for their program,” Blankenship said.

Mayor Glyn T. Willis said, “That’s generally understood but best not to assume.”

The change in language from “supplies” to “facility supplies” was part of the motion that passed.

Earlier in Tuesday’s meeting during the Council Comments agenda item, Stubbs said that he is not an opponent of anybody coming in and providing services to senior citizens in the town, but he made a point to convey some of the issues with the MOU that he had heard from residents.

George Stubbs

He highlighted how some people and organizations put in time, energy and work to make the Windsor Town Center a reality, as it exists now, but that SSSEVA was not involved in that process.

“They have no skin in this game,” he said. “They provided no elbow grease.”

He noted that part of the proposed arrangement would involve giving SSSEVA a key to the town center, and he highlighted the belief that “if you hold a key to the building, you’re in control of it.”

“Is this the way we should let this building go, is to turn it over, give them a key to the building and let them use it at no fee?” he said.

He conveyed questions regarding the timing of Senior Services’ proposal.

“Everything is done, the building’s been remodified, the roof has been replaced and all of a sudden these people show up and say, ‘We’ve got to have this building,’” he said. “Why did they show up at this point?”

Blankenship said, “It’s none of our business to question their motives.”

“It’s a question about the people that put all the effort in this building, and now we’re going to say anybody that was going to use it has to pay a fee,” Stubbs said, while SSSEVA would not have to pay a fee. “So it’s not setting very well with a lot of residents.”