Council stresses low additional cost of senior services levy
To the Editor:
Recently, ThisWeek Delaware News published a very nice story about the Council for Older Adults' Meals on Wheels program and the group of local elected officials who recently delivered meals with our volunteers. It was a good article and we appreciated you helping us share the success of this wonderful local service and the commitment of our 250-plus volunteers (most of whom are seniors) who help make this service possible.
However, we felt there was one bit of information that was somewhat confusing, and our suspicions were confirmed when a gentleman who had read your story came to us seeking clarification. There are probably more, hence this letter.
Your article referenced the fact that our local Meals on Wheels program is supported by our local senior services levy, which will be on the ballot this spring. This is true. You went on to report that the 1.2-mill levy will cost about $37 annually per $100,000 of property valuation. This is also accurate as the actual total cost will be about $36.72 annually.
Our primary concern is that the "new" cost of this levy is actually only about $9.18 annually, and we have found voters want to know: "How much more will this levy cost?" The gentleman who came to our office was not sure if the amount you reported was all new costs. If not, he wanted to know what the new cost would be. We think that because your article did not spell this out, there is a tendency for people to assume that the amount reported is all new cost, especially when the total cost is so small.
When we talk about this levy, we go out of our way to tell people that they are currently paying around $27.50 per $100,000 of property valuation, and that the additional request would cost around $9.20 annually. I realize that these are both very small costs, but we want people to understand both what the new cost and the total cost would be.
We do appreciate ThisWeek's fine coverage of the council's efforts to help people remain living safely in their own homes and the benefits of our local senior services levy.
secretary, board of directors
Council for Older Adults