Senior levy sought for next election

Published 10:14 am Friday, July 22, 2011

Would fund local services

The anticipated Collins Career Center levy, expected to be on this November ballot, may have company as supporters work to push for a 1-mil property tax levy to pay for services for senior citizens.

“We are leaving things up to voters in Lawrence County as to what level of services we can provide,” said to Ralph Kline of the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization.

Kline spoke to the Lawrence County Commission at its regular Thursday meeting about the need for an additional revenue source for countywide senior programs.

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Earlier in the year a 14-member senior advisory committee was established that prioritized programs allocating the amount of funds from the levy for each.

Estimated to bring in approximately $810,000 a year, the levy would fund at least five projects: senior medical transportation at $125,000; home meals expansion at $150,000; congregate meals at sites at $150,000; senior and para transit transportation at $210,000 and home health care at $75,000.

“We want this to be a decision of the Lawrence County voters,” Kline said.

An increase in the county’s senior population combined with funding cuts on the state and federal levels has prompted the need for the levy, according to a plan created by the advisory committee.

“Last year we were handed a 39 percent cut in our senior community services funding,” the report states. “We use it to serve those individuals not eligible or choosing not to enroll in the Medicaid Waiver (Passport) program. We have had to restrict our care coordination program due to the 39 percent cut.”

The 1-mil levy that would be for five years is expected to cost $35 annually on a tax property value of $100,000. That would be $2.92 a month, according to the plan report.

Collins officials intend to ask voters for a half-mil levy expected to cost taxpayers $15 a year for the same tax property valuation. That is expected to bring in $402,706 a year for five years.

Those funds are needed for a proposed $22 million expansion and renovation of the Getaway campus. Most of the project’s cost will come from the Ohio School Facilities Commission with the school district putting up the remaining 25 percent.

However, to gain state funding the school must put aside two percent of the insured value of the project for the next 23 years for maintenance. Officials want that money to come from the levy. However in the last general election, voters turned it down 10,061 to 7,007.

Thursday commissioners passed a resolution asking the county auditor to certify the amount that the senior levy would bring in, the next step in getting the issue before the voters.

“It allows us to create more opportunities for services,” Kline said.