On May 23, 1975, a group of 17 Franklin County residents and/or property owners, from Alligator Point to Eastpoint, came together to file articles of incorporation as the Franklin County Senior Citizens Council, Inc., a not for profit corporation with the state of Florida.

The purpose of this corporation,”shall be to encourage and provide community programs, activities and resources primarily for those people 50 years of age and over, engage in social services relating to the needs of the aged, to standardize and coordinate social services in Franklin County, to organize and govern branches of affiliated agencies of this corporation throughout Franklin County, offering direct services to the aged, and to promote and support research and educational activities in social welfare.”

The 17 people listed in the articles of incorporation became the first board members of whom the incorporation articles state that there “shall not be less than 11 directors and not more than 25.”

The first activity of the Senior Citizens Council was to draw up the by-laws which govern the activities and organization of the Council. Over the years the by-laws have been amended in proper fashion to timely reflect the activities of the Council that would serve the needs of the aging. The last revision of the Council by-laws was on Sept. 28, 2008, when it stipulated “Members of the Board of Directors shall be elected by the membership of the Council during the Fall membership meeting of the Council.”

According to the current Council by-laws, “Membership in the Council is open to any adult age 50 and over who subscribes to the purpose and policies of the Council as stated and implied in the Council’s by-laws and is a resident and/or property owner of Franklin County. All voting members shall have the right to participate in the Council’s annual meeting, to cast one vote on all Council voting matters, and be eligible for nomination and election to the Council’s board of directors.

“The Fall membership meeting of the Council will be held the second Wednesday in September at a time designated by the board for the purpose of electing new board members and adopting a council budget. The board of directors will provide a progress report to the Council membership, they will also address and record Council members concerns and suggestions. There shall be no voting by proxy by any Council business. The board of directors shall also elect the officers of the board.”

The current by-laws state that there, “shall be a maximum of 16 members of which one-quarter shall be elected every year during the fall membership meeting of the Council.”

The board of directors shall be elected by the membership of the Council. That means that every resident or property owner in Franklin County over the age of 50 is eligible to vote for the members of the board of directors of the Council. All eligible voting members must be in attendance and present at the membership meeting to be held on the second Wednesday of September. The membership meeting is usually held at 2 p.m. at the Senior Citizens Council Building, 201 NW Avenue F and First Street, Carrabelle.

The Senior Citizens Council Building as a center for the activities of the Franklin County seniors was begun in 1985 when the Council membership worked together to erect the building. There are several seniors around today who remember digging the foundations for the building, carrying concrete blocks and helping to paint the structure. The land upon which the building stands was conveyed by the city of Carrabelle to the Franklin County Senior Citizens Council, Inc. for the consideration of the sum of $10 with the stipulation that “Said land is hereby conveyed for Senior Citizen Center purposes only. Should the land cease to be used as a Senior Citizen Center, all title conveyed herein to the lands described above shall automatically revert to the city of Carrabelle, its successors or assigns.”

The 2008 by-laws of the Franklin County Senior Citizens Council, along with the 1975 Charter of Incorporation and the 1985 stipulation in the land deed, are very clear as to the what activities on which the current members and future 16 members of the board of directors of The Franklin County Senior Citizens Council should maintain their collective focus and efforts.

In a recent issue of the Times, there was an article about a study on the economic development of the city of Carrabelle in which it was noted that one of the strengths of the city is the many senior citizens that are living in this area. To the goal of providing adequate services and activities for the seniors, it is important that the Franklin County Senior Citizens Council elect board of director members who will work to welcome and keep the Senior Center open and easily accessible to all seniors wishing to enjoy the services of the Senior Center without any judgment as to the seniors’ economic or social status, race, creed or disabilities.

Harriett Beach