Licking County News

Licking County

Seniors, Children's Services levies on ballot

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Two Licking County levies will appear on the November general election ballot for continued assistance to the county's senior citizens and children.

 

Seniors' services

A 1.2-mill, five-year senior citizen levy has existed since the 1990s. Agency officials are seeking a renewal of the levy.

"It's to take care of people 60 (years old) and over in our community who are vulnerable," said Licking County Commissioner Tim Bubb, adding it's not a new tax nor will it raise taxes for voters if approved.

"It's a lifeline for our senior community," Bubb said. "It's something we almost can't do without."

He said the levy subsidizes transportation for seniors, nutritional and social programs, and helps fight senior abuse.

"It saves our budget overall," Bubb said.

"It keeps people healthy and in their homes, which is much less expensive than being institutionalized."

Bubb said the senior citizens levy supports county senior programs large and small, from the countywide Licking County Aging Program to local programs such as the Alexandria Buckeyes.

"Our community would be a lot poorer without it," Bubb said. "We urge people strongly to support it."

Licking County Auditor Michael Smith said the levy would raise nearly $4.5 million and cost taxpayers $36.75 per year, per $100,000 home value, which is what they pay today.

 

Children's Services

Voters will also see a 1-mill, 10-year replacement Children's Services levy on the November ballot.

"The money has been used for the treatment of abused and neglected children," said John Fisher, Licking County Job & Family Services director.

He said the levy is 30 years old.

Fisher said the revenue is used for three types of services.

First is foster care for room, board and care of abused or neglected children who, for their safety and protection were placed in Licking County's custody.

Next is adoption assistance. Fisher said abused or neglected children who are adopted usually have special physical or emotional needs. Adoption assistance helps cover the costs of treating these needs.

"Often they would not be adopted if there wasn't assistance to meet special needs," he said. Many of these children would remain in the foster care system.

Thirdly, the revenue the levy generates is used toward support services to assist in preserving the family unit or reunification of children back into their families.

"We do everything we can to keep families united," Fisher said. He said foster care is reserved for children whose lives are in danger either from abuse or neglect and they must be removed from their homes for their own safety.

Foster said the number of children in Licking County's care is increasing from 295 in 2011 to 410 in 2014.

In 2013 Children's Services assisted more than 3,000 children total, with seven percent entering Children's Services' care.

Smith said the Children's Services' levy is a replacement and would raise $3.76 million annually for 10 years.

It would cost taxpayers $35 per year, per $100,000 home value. Currently, the levy costs county taxpayers $28.41 per year, per $100,000 home value.

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