MSAC and surrounding communities

MSAC and Supporting Town Tax Appropriation Requests on 2021 Town Meeting Ballots for FY22 Funding

Each year, MSAC has a request for a tax appropriation appear on the town ballots of six towns: Berlin, Calais, East Montpelier, Middlesex, Moretown, and Worcester (each of which can be found by scrolling to the bottom of the page). In FY20, MSAC served at least 335 people from the six towns—down slightly from the previous year but undoubtedly a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our facility closure, and our pivot to online classes. We know that our pandemic response has been resourceful and important to residents of all these towns and appreciate voters’ consideration of the value of MSAC even—or especially—during a pandemic. This year, we are seeking level funding in five towns and a slight decrease in Worcester, with requests to these towns totaling $39,500 and ranging from $1,100 to $15,000. The highest amount is in Berlin where MSAC also subsidizes and delivers Meals on Wheels.

The City of Montpelier subsidizes residents from surrounding communities at a cost of about $85-90/person based on an average annual attendance of non-duplicated participants, and level-funding from Montpelier tax-payers is proposed at $134,749.65 for FY22. In a typical year, about a quarter of the people MSAC serves are residents of our six supporting towns, while about 2/3 are Montpelier residents. MSAC staff have been attending Town Meeting Discussion Zooms in 2021 and welcome questions from residents of other towns.

Supporting town residents are also invited to consider nominations to MSAC’s Advisory Council in 2021, with one current vacancy and four more this Spring. Nominations are due March 31; please contact us to learn more or read our March newsletter, page 5.

     Tiered Class Fees and Membership Dues Structure: Details and Explanation
(Updated October 15, 2020)

To address some confusion and questions that are often raised by residents of MSAC’s six supporting towns of Berlin, Calais, East Montpelier, Middlesex, Moretown, and Worcester (and other towns), we have prepared the following.  Any unanswered questions may be directed to Director, Janna Clar, at, and via phone at 223-2518. 

  1. MSAC has a tiered class fee structure.  
    1. Some class fee differences – usually $10 (for classes serving members or age 50+ only), are Montpelier members VS. Non-resident members.  Example: $35 vs. $45 for 12 weeks.
      1. The reason is that Montpelier taxpayers support MSAC operations at a significantly higher rate than any of the supporting towns’ tax appropriations, proportionately and otherwise.   
      2. Additionally, as a division of city government, we are mandated by a city policy, passed in 2012, to endeavor to collect equitable revenue when providing services to non-residents. Town Meeting appropriations are one way we do this, but we also do it via fees and dues. 
    2. Some class fee differences- usually $15-25 (typically for classes open to younger people, too) are all MSAC members VS. all Non-members, regardless of town of residence.  Example: $35 vs. $60 for 12 weeks. 
      1. In these instances, members from supporting towns are not charged more than Montpelier residents. 
      2. Non-members are also usually required to wait longer to be given spaces in classes, as MSAC prioritizes older adults/members. 
  2. MSAC has a tiered annual membership dues structure.  (see 1.a.i and 1.a.ii above)
    1. Montpelier residents are charged the lowest rate 
      1. currently $25, an increase of $10 over what we charged in the past several years. 
    2. Supporting town residents are charged more: 
      1. currently $40, an increase of $10 over what we charged in the past several years.
    3. Other town residents are charged the most: 
      1. currently $60, an increase of $10 over what we charged in the past several years.
    4. Membership benefits (some unavailable during pandemic times) include: access to all MSAC programs and services, typically over 130 hours per week (many are free; some require fees), subscription to our newsletter by USPS delivery upon request (along with email), use of our computer lab, use of our 1200-title Savoy Archive DVD collection, free B&W photocopying up to 15 pages per day, discounts to area fitness gyms, and more. 
  3. Financial aid is available to all MSAC members upon request. We are committed to maintaining affordable and accessible programs for all older adults who are interested in participating. We do not ask for information about your income or resources.  
    1. Available both for annual membership dues and for class fees.  
    2. Exception: We do not offer financial aid for annual membership dues for members of non-supporting town residents (ie Barre, Waterbury, Plainfield, etc.) 
    3. Usually, we are able to fulfill the full request for aid; occasionally we have to negotiate a lower amount. 
  4. MSAC allows members of supporting towns to register for classes as soon as registration opens, along with Montpelier residents.
    1. This is a benefit in recognition of the value of and our appreciation for supporting towns’ funding. 
    2. In many cases, this allows supporting town members to enroll in classes that fill up quickly and end up being unavailable to members from non-supporting towns. 
  5. Increases in class fees and annual membership dues for FY21 (July 2020-June 2021)
    1. Effective July 2020, class fees increased $5 or $10 in most cases (for a 10 or 12-week series). 
    2. These increases were announced in our newsletter, etc. starting in January 2020, and are based on increases in operating expenses and the revenue targets we had to set when budgeting for FY21 in Fall 2019. 
    3. We have not raised most fees or any dues in several years prior to this. 
    4. Class fees for a few programs are above our typical rate, and we endeavor to cover our direct expenses of all instructor payments, and facility rentals for offsite programs, (but not other MSAC overhead) with total class fee revenue each quarter. We usually end up subsidizing with other revenue sources. 
  6. COVID-19 differences
    1. During the pandemic, we are offering fewer services and programs. Spring and Summer classes were canceled; Fall classes began in September 2020 with four in-person and 20 online. Some other services are returning gradually, more online than in-person. There are many health and safety guidelines we are following, in compliance with local and state requirements. 
    2. Renewal of membership dues has been waived for the time being. Therefore, dues-paying members for FY20 (through June 2020) did NOT need to renew their membership after July 1 in order to register for class this Fall.   We have not yet determined when and how renewal will occur but will announce it in our newsletter, e-letter, website, and elsewhere. 
    3. Class registration is available to members of all towns at the same time (“First come, first served” is on pause along with in-person registration’s pause), but in cases when enrollment exceeds space, members from Montpelier and Supporting Towns are given priority in our lottery drawings

MSAC Tax Appropriation Requests for FY22

*MSAC's FEAST Senior Meals Program provides home delivery of meals to residents of Berlin. Adjusting for the costs associated with this program, MSAC's ask in Berlin is significant. Each year, we create an infographic to help explain why the ask is as large as it is. To view this year's infographic, click here.