AARP wants senior levy on November ballot

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Effie McKenzie and her sister, Dorothy Zimmerman, have a problem.

“My sister is 85 and neither of us should be driving,” the elderly Coal Grove resident explained. “We get out once in a while. We need to go to doctors but don’t have (transportation) service.”

American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) local chapter spokesman Emerson Moore said McKenzie’s problem is not unique. Many other Lawrence County residents have just enough income that they do not meet guidelines for transportation and other assistance from the Senior Service program operated through the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization. Thursday, he approached the Lawrence County Commission about an AARP proposal to put a one-mil levy on the ballot to fund senior services.

Email newsletter signup

The levy, he said, would be used to help people 60 years of age and older who do qualify for federal programs. It would be administered, however, by the CAO.

“It would provide transportation to and from the doctor and to and from the store, changing batteries in smoke detectors,” Moore said. “Everybody in Lawrence County is not rich and everybody in Lawrence County is not poor. There is a happy medium there and some of them need help.”

Moore said he thinks the levy would generate $600,000-$700,000 yearly. There may be a sliding scale for fees, with people who can afford to pay some toward the cost of services asked to do so.

Commissioners questioned Moore about what kind of levy his organization wants— one that expires in a specific amount of time or one that is continuous.

“Levies are hard to get approved,” Commissioner Doug Malone said.

Commissioners advised the AARP members that the levy must be certified by the Lawrence County Auditor’s Office and then approved by the Lawrence County Board of Elections by Aug. 23, the deadline for filing to run or for placing any issues on the November ballot.