Senior-services officials want to answer residents' questions about a levy headed for the May 7 ballot.

Senior-services officials want to answer residents' questions about a levy headed for the May 7 ballot.

Two open community forums about the levy to support the Council for Older Adults of Delaware County are set from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, and from 1 to 2:30 p.m. next Thursday, March 21, at the Center for Older Adults, 800 Cheshire Road in Delaware.

The Council for Older Adults will ask voters to approve a five-year, 1.2-mill levy to replace a 0.9-mill levy that expires at the end of the year.

If passed, it would cost Delaware County homeowners about $37 annually per $100,000 in assessed property value, starting in 2014.

The funds would help the council continue to provide area senior citizens with in-home care, including warm-meal deliveries, medical transportation and adult day care.

During the forums, council Director Bob Horrocks will give a presentation about the levy, then take questions from residents.

Officials said the proposed 0.3-mill increase is needed to fund services for area seniors, since the county has experienced explosive growth in the past five years.

The proposed increase in millage won't fund any new services, Horrocks said.

"All we're trying to do is keep pace with the growth we've seen," he said. "This levy will allow us to keep serving our current clients, and then it will provide the funds to hopefully serve those that we know are going to be needing assistance soon."

Delaware County saw an 83 percent increase in its senior population from 2000 to 2010, compared with an average of just 7.7 percent growth in the senior population in other Ohio counties during that time.

The Council for Older Adults currently serves more than 5,000 area seniors. Studies show the council will see an additional 35 percent increase in its clientele over the next five years, officials said.

The council also has suffered as state funding has been slashed and local property values have dipped, Horrocks said.

More than 80 percent of the council's funding comes from levy dollars; the rest comes mostly from grants and donations.

Horrocks said the services provided by the council help seniors stay in their own homes for longer.

That's not just what seniors prefer -- it's also less expensive than caring for them in an assisted-living center, he said.

"The idea is that we invest a little bit now, and it saves us a lot in the long run," he said.