“advise the (City) Commission on the needs of senior citizens,

HARLIGNEN, Jul 18, 2010 (Valley Morning Star – McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) — A new senior citizens advisory board will act as a central hub through which the city’s elderly can communicate their needs to the City Commission.

The board will be comprised of 11 members, six of whom must be senior citizens, at least 55 years of age. Of those six, the mayor and each commissioner will appoint one so that one senior citizen represents each of the city’s five districts on the new board.

“There’s a lot of benefit to having formal … representation with the City Commission,” District 2 commissioner and senior citizen board sponsor Robert Leftwich said. The last five members that make up the 11 must be affiliated with organizations that focus on providing services to senior citizens. Those organizations have yet to be determined, Leftwich said.

According to the city ordinance creating the board, members will “advise the (City) Commission on the needs of senior citizens, the resources available to local senior citizens and programs that could benefit the needs of local senior citizens and their families.” Leftwich said he has already been approached by six seniors in his district interested in serving on the board.

“People who seek out to serve typically serve with more passion and that bodes well for the seniors on the board as well as those throughout the community,” he said.

District 4 commissioner and senior citizens board co-sponsor Jerry Prepejchal said the board would pick up the slack where the city has neglected seniors in its decision-making process.

He cited local events as an example.

“Why only have events when Winter Texans are here?” he said. “We have senior citizens living here year around.” “I think the whole purpose of the senior citizens advisory board is to get their input on what they would like to see for themselves,” he said.

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