The Fairfield County commissioners last week approved a $5,000, one-time grant to the Pickerington Senior Center.

The Fairfield County commissioners last week approved a $5,000, one-time grant to the Pickerington Senior Center.

Senior center board president Bud Joos said the money will be used to tide the center over through the end of the year.

The center's board of trustees is asking voters in Pickerington and Violet Township to approve a five-year, 0.2-mill levy to support the facility when they go to the polls Nov. 4.

And even if the levy passes, the center won't see any additional funding until May. Joos said the money from the county will help the center get by until then.

The senior center is running short on cash this year for several reasons, Joos said. One is that it received $5,000 less from Meals on Wheels and there have been fewer bequests from estates this year than in the past, he said.

If approved, the levy will raise about $185,000 a year. It would cost homeowners about $7 for each $100,000 of their home's market value, or $20 for each $100,000 in value assessed by the county for tax purposes.

The senior center's board is seeking the levy in order to expand programs, services and hours at the facility. It is the first time in more than a decade the organization has sought taxpayer support.

Joos said there are some immediate needs that need to be addressed at the center, if the levy passes.

"The first thing on our agenda is to redo the front parking lot so the water doesn't run in the front door," he said. "If we put another topcoat on it, that's exactly what will happen.

"Beyond that, we have to establish some programs for the younger adults and beef up our staff with one more full-time person so we can keep the center open past 4:30 p.m. for those seniors who are still working."

A five-year plan calls for remodeling the center's interior to allow for more flexible spaces and a possible expansion, he said.

The Pickerington Senior Center was founded in 1985 through a grant from the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging

In 1988, township residents passed a five-year, 0.5-mill levy to allow trustees to acquire ownership of the center.

Since then, it has been generally self-supporting. A portion of its approximately $100,000 annual budget comes from two $10,000 annual grants received from the city and the township.

Membership fees generate another $12,000 a year; building rentals and fundraisers -- such as spaghetti dinners and pancake breakfasts -- make up the balance.

The center has about 750 active members from Pickerington, Violet Township and surrounding area. Last quarter, those members participated in 19,000 hours of center programming and in the winter months, that number grows to about 26,000 hours a quarter.

msegaloff@thisweeknews.com