Local News

Story published: 07-30-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Senior Center may be forced to cancel out-of-state travel plans

By Lynn J. Richardson
Publisher

The Jonesborough Senior Center may have a new van, but at least for now, it will only be carrying passengers within the State of Tennessee.

The Senior Center Advisory Committee met July 25 and discussed a problem, which, according to Senior Center Administrator Joan Miller, will necessitate the cancellation of at least two out-of-state trips planned for the center’s members.

At the very least, she said, it will require they be put on hold until insurance issues can be resolved.

“We have learned that our vans’ insurance hinges on the $700,000 cap the State of Tennessee has for accidental injury,” Miller told the group. “According to the Tennessee Municipal League, if we go out of state, we are at the mercy of whatever that state’s cap is. So, if we travel into another state, we would have to use another method of transportation instead of the senior center van.”

The restriction could cancel a scheduled trip to Wohlfhart Haus Theater in Wytheville, Va., on Aug. 15 and a Myrtle Beach trip set for Sept. 5-9. The Myrtle Beach trip is sold out and has a waiting list, according to Miller.

However, committee chair Lloyd Fleenor suggested asking the Town of Jonesborough to set up a $1 million umbrella policy to compensate for the restricted insurance.

Typically, an umbrella policy is pure liability coverage over and above the coverage afforded by the regular policy, and is sold in increments of $1 million dollars.

It can “drop down” to fill coverage gaps in underlying policies.

“This is too simple to fix to just say ‘No,’” Fleenor said. “If you have a $700,000 deductible, a surplus doesn’t cost much.”

Committee member Mary Gearhart agreed, noting she understood this had been done in other cases when town employees had to take municipal vehicles out of state.

The group agreed to bring a proposal to the next Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, requesting an umbrella policy so the center’s out-of-state travel can continue.

They will also meet with a representative of the TML on Aug. 1 to get more information.

If the issue can be resolved, the senior center is ready to do some traveling.

The center recently purchased an additional van for the price of $40,456. The group used money from the senior center’s certificates of deposit, withdrawing a total of $44,000 in CDs.

A portion of the remaining money will be used for lettering and logo applications on the van, Miller said. The group reviewed design proposals from Foster Signs and Stafford Graphics and agreed that more information is needed before making a choice.

In other business, the committee discussed the continuing plans for a new senior center, noting that bids for contractors opened at 4 p.m. on July 25.

“I’m not sure when they will award the bid,” Miller said, “but when they do it will time to start building.”

“I’m ready,” she added. “I’ve got my shovel on the front porch.”