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Levy to fund senior programs in works



Published: Thu, August 11, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Commissioners are considering placing the levy on the ballot.

JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

WARREN -- A group of organizations that address the needs of senior citizens is urging Trumbull County officials to place a 1-mill levy on the November ballot to benefit their operations.

Donald Medd of the District XI Area on Aging, and Janet Schweitzer of SCOPE Inc. addressed commissioners this week about the need for a levy. Medd said the levy is supported by a number of organizations that address the needs of senior citizens in Trumbull County.

According to Schweitzer, the 1-mill, five-year levy would generate about $3.4 million annually. She said the cost to a homeowner with a house valued at $80,000 would be about $25 per year.

Voters in March defeated a similar measure.

Growing bloc

Schweitzer told commissioners the 55-plus population accounts for about 25 percent of the total population in the county. Over the past decade, she said, the 75-plus population and 85-plus population grew 37 percent and 45 percent respectively.

Schweitzer said there are services to address the needs of the growing senior population, but most of the programs are under-funded.

"There are a number of these programs that are very under-funded -- so under-funded that we really can't move to do anything," she said. "We can't keep up with what we need to do."

Schweitzer said the money generated by the levy would go a long way toward helping senior programs reach more seniors who could use the services.

Fund's use

Medd said one area in which the money could be beneficial is increasing the presence of community centers for seniors. He said more community centers to service the senior population would mean more health concerns would be addressed and more socialization for seniors who are isolated in their homes.

Schweitzer said in-home services, such as bathing and food preparation, is another area that needs additional funds to meet growing a demand. She said those below the poverty line qualify for certain in home programs, but those just above the poverty line are getting left out.

Schweitzer said she believes county taxpayers should have no problem passing the levy, should commissioners place it on the ballot, once they understand how much can be done with a relatively small amount of money.

"It will come out to about $25 a year for the average citizen," she said. "If we can get people to understand that I believe we have a very good chance of passing this."




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