In 1995, Edison Township Mayor George Spadoro was able to secure a $50,000 annual grant to fund a Mr. Fix-it Program.
This program enabled senior citizens to live in their homes for longer periods of time--often years. The grant paid for the Mr. Fix-it Van, all tools and materials, and the salary of Mr. Fix-it.
Mr. Fix-it's services were free of charge to eligible senior citizens, and later for the disabled as well. The primary task
involved small, but necessary, repairs to senor citizens' homes and property. The eligible homeowner needed only to call
the Senior Citizen Center to schedule an appointment. The office staff determined eligibility, and within a day or two, but
sometimes within hours, Mr. Fix-it was at their doorstep ready to perform his magic.
These jobs were many. During a normal work week he could be called upon to install grab bars in bathrooms, fix leaky
faucets, secure shaky banisters, replace broken window panes, change light bulbs, replace smoke or carbon monoxide
detectors, do safety checks on electrical outlets, install stored air conditioners in the spring/summer and remove them for
storage in the fall, or check their home for dangerous conditions. The list of tasks undertaken and completed could fill
a book. All were accepted and all were appreciated.
Oftentimes, just spending the time necessary to address their needs spoke volumes to our seniors. Sometimes just
spending time with those who had few visitors reinforced the fact that they are valued residents of our community.
In July of 2016, Mr. Fix-it retired. Apparently, the program retired with him. Since that time, no one has been
employed in this very important position.
Countless senior citizens cherished the program and the services it provided. Many depended upon this program
for their personal and financial survival. They must now pay out of pocket for tasks that were once provided them--
often stretching their fixed or limited incomes to the breaking point.
The loss of these services to our senior citizen population is of paramount concern, but there are other questions
that must be asked regarding this valuable program. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE $50,000 GRANT? Has that money
targeted for our senior citizens been absorbed into the township's general fund? Is this money being used for another
purpose? Has Edison Township just lost this source of revenue, or failed to renew the grant?
These are questions that need to be answered before Election Day.
Don Tarr, Edison Twp.