Should the Newberry Springs 
    Senior Service Center close? 

Center lacks sufficient senior support.

Operators are asking for another bailout!

•   Editorial   •
October 31, 2012


      It may be time for the senior service association to close its doors.

      At the October 23, 2012 Newberry Community Service District (CSD) monthly general meeting, the senior's organization was back for a third time requesting a financial bail-out in order to cover its current operational expenses.

      During the last decade the demographics of Newberry Springs has been changing; and with that change the number of elderly has been declining as well as financial support for the senior center.  The decline is expected to continue.

      As to the senior association acquiring funds from the CSD (a governmental body), the CSD can not gift funds to the privately operated group or any other private entity; despite the association having an IRS 501(c)(3) designation.

      The CSD can only transfer funds under a contract for services of demonstrated value or product.  Under past instances, the senior association has twice acquired funds for services that have been of dubious and of unmeasurable value to the CSD for the large amount of the funding provided.  There apparently have not been any records generated for accounting oversight to demonstrate a fulfillment of the two earlier contracts.

Brian Fisher

      During a mid-meeting break of the October 23rd CSD meeting, Brian Fisher privately commented that he was going to be giving a presentation and expected the CSD board to roll-over the previous funding contract with the senior association.

      Fisher later presented his presentation claiming an embarrassment of the senior association having to once again come before the CSD seeking funds.  He acknowledged the changing demographics in the community and stated that the senior association now recognizes that it must change their scope and mission to include families and youth.

      Just what changes that would include, Fisher appeared clueless.  His presentation lacked any specifics.  The audience questioned if the younger families in Newberry Springs could financially support the association's programs for them or whether such programs would further accellerate the association's negative cash flow.

      Fisher's presentation lacked any financial projections.  He had no necessary business plan.  He lacked proposed benchmarks that the CSD could follow for the attainment of data to measure and assess the performance of the expenditures of the proposed CSD funds.

      Fisher had no competent remedy on how the CSD funding would take the senior association out of its growing insolvency.  A bank would have laughed him out of its door.  Yet, he wanted a monetary gift from the CSD.

The Money

      The senior association appears to be targeting upwards of $30,000 of the current remainder of the Kiewit Pacific funds that are now estimated to have dropped to only $110,000.

      When the Kiewit Pacific funds originally became available, the money was stipulated to be made available for the community's betterment.  To determine what the community members wanted the funds to be used on, an extensive survey was mailed out to the entire community.

      The majority of the responses from the community centered upon two topics: (1) Improved roads; and (2), recreation for children.  Kiewit Pacific money being allocated for the senior center was not notable by the respondents.  Despite this, Kiewit Pacific funds have already been used twice to bail-out the senior center's operations; the children of Newberry Springs still have no recreational programs, and the seniors' management is again coming back to the trough for a third time.


      It is obvious that the seniors have had years of seeing the handwriting of declining funding on the wall.  It is managerial and fiscally irresponsible for the senior association to degrade to the point to where it is now before they have acted to correct course.

Funds cannot be used for operational costs.

      Any CSD bailout funds will be principally used by the association to cover the senior center's operational costs, as disclosed by Fisher; and that is known to be an illegal purpose of CSD funding.  Even if some CSD rouse of a contract was made-up to provide some sort of proported community service benefit from the senior association, the scam may directly lead to more investigations against the CSD and its board.

      According to the information released at the October 2012 Newberry CSD meeting, the CSD board is currently being investigated by the county Grand Jury.  The topic and purpose of the investigation is not known; but this is a time for the board to exercise extreme caution in the distribution of any CSD controlled funds.

Business loan might be possible.

      Both parties need to address this funding issue in a professional business fashion.  We suggest that a short-term business loan at 6% be made by the CSD from Kiewit Pacific funds and that each board member of the senior association show their good faith in their operational proposal by using their home as collateral.  The private borrower should assume the risk, not the CSD, and the senior association's board would then, for the first time, have a direct vested interest in the success of the association's venture.

      If the association's board does not want to place their homes as collateral, then it is apparent that they have no faith in their own management plans.  The CSD board should then abort further discussions.

County takeover option.

      The County of San Bernardino has previously expressed an interest in the meal operation of the Newberry Springs Senior Center.  The current operators of the center have opposed county meal control in preference to local autonomy.  As Fisher noted, if someone comes into the restaurant and wants a sandwich with rye bread, the current operation can accommodate; whereas, the county ships-in its food individually prepackaged.

      A county operation would be paid for by general taxes that are already being collected from the local residents and would allow the Kiewit Pacific funds to be used for other needs, such as youth programs.


      Hopefully, the senior association will be able to continue it's operation; but raiding the Kiewit Pacific funds yet again is not the answer; and the CSD providing such funds this time without a collateralized loan would be a serious misjudgment in promoting a continued cycle of bad management.

      A third time with a hand in the cookie jar is unconscionable.  The senior association needs to work this out on their own and find another remedy.

      The CSD board at the October meeting continued the topic for further study.  The Senior Center's board is preparing a new presentation to be given at the CSD's next general board meeting in November.  Hopefully, the presentation will consist of a complete business plan with funding guarantees for repayment.