Franklin County residents are being asked to pay a little more to help fund programming for senior citizens in need of assistance.
The five-year Senior Options levy, which will appear as Issue 1 on the May 2 primary-election ballot, will include renewal of a 1.3-mill property-tax levy and an increase of 0.45 mill. It is expected to generate $46.6 million annually, starting in 2018.
The added millage would cost the owner of a house valued at $100,000 an extra $15.75 a year, bringing the total annual collection to $55.45, according to Antonia M. Carroll, director of the Franklin County Office on Aging.
The agency's budget is slightly more than $41 million a year.
Money from the levy will pay for the 10,000 seniors who currently receive services and the additional 0.45 mill would allow the agency to subsidize an estimated 3 percent growth per year through the duration of the levy, Carroll said.
"Without the increase, we could not really support the caseload size we're building up right now," she said.
Among the services are home-delivered meals, emergency-response systems, transportation and light housekeeping services, Carroll said.
The Franklin County Senior Options program "has been critical in helping our older county residents remain independent" and out of institutional care, which is more expensive, she said.
The Office on Aging focuses on low- to moderate-income senior citzens. Even so, 45 percent of those it serves still do make a payment, bringing in about $1.34 million a year, Carroll said.
Cindy Farson is executive director of the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging, which provides in-home care management for seniors.
Farson said people should not underestimate the value of the levy.
"This levy provides a tremendous amount of support for older adults in Franklin County and has been a model for other levies in Ohio," Farson said. "It goes a long way (toward) keeping people off of Medicaid and in their homes."