The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Clinton

July 9, 2012

Clinton SSA office in danger of closing

CLINTON — The Social Security Administration office in Clinton is in danger of being closed — again.

Clinton Mayor Mark Vulich said he learned of the proposed closure June 22.

Vulich will ask the Clinton City Council at its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday to approve a resolution requesting the office remain open.

Closing the office would force those who use it to travel to the Davenport SSA office or access services by phone or Internet.

The office, located at 226 Fourth Ave. South, was on the chopping block four years ago when SSA officials said they would close the office by June 1, 2008, and consolidate operations with the Davenport office.

That merger was ultimately scrapped after elected officials and residents raised concerns about elderly or disabled residents’ travel restrictions and discomfort with 1-800 phone numbers and the Internet.

Few details of the current closure proposal are available. U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, sent a letter to Jewell Colbert, the regional communications director for the Kansas City Regional SSA office, asking for more information. Vulich said he had not received any further explanation of when or why the office is being slated for closure.  

“I am concerned that the consolidation of services for these two counties into one office may diminish the level and availability of service to residents,” the letter from Loebsack stated.

In advance of the City Council approving the resolution, Vulich wrote letters to U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, requesting support for the office to stay open.

“I am very concerned of the hardships this elimination would cause to our many elderly and handicapped people...I believe that having a local Social Security office is an important factor towards a better life for our citizens,” Vulich wrote.

In 2008, Braley estimated the Clinton SSA office delivered benefits such as retirement and disability benefits to 11,000 people from Clinton and the surrounding areas.

The City Council will discuss the closure before acting on the resolution.

Also on the schedule Tuesday night is the City Council’s Committee of the Whole meeting. The COW will hear an update on Clinton’s long-term control plan to meet mandates initiated by the Iowa DNR and EPA. The city estimates implementing the long-term control plan will cost between $95 to $105 million.  

Clinton City Engineer Jason Craft also will present the COW with details of the sewer options for the new Clinton Middle School.

The City Council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at City Hall with the COW meeting immediately following.

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