Meals on Wheels of Fairfield County plans to ask voters Nov. 6 to renew and increase a property tax that funds the senior-citizen meal program.
County commissioners May 22 declared the necessity of levying the tax, and are expected to vote in June to approve a request that it be placed on the ballot.
The requested 0.8-mill levy, which includes a 0.5-mill renewal and a 0.3-mill increase, would generate about $2.8 million annually to fund the organization's operating budget.
The levy would cost homeowners approximately $25 per $100,000 in valuation annually, up from the current $14 per $100,000 annually, said Anna Tobin, executive director of Meals on Wheels-Older Adult Alternatives of Fairfield County Inc.
"Our services have simply outpaced the levy funding," Tobin said. "The levy is critical. I am super-optimistic. We have to care for our seniors."
Voters first approved the property tax in 2004 and have renewed it every five years since. This is the first time Meals on Wheels has asked for an increase.
"I don't think it's too outrageous," Tobin said.
The program served 119,499 meals in 2004 when the levy was first approved, and 228,975 meals last year. That, Tobin said, shows the demand.
The nonprofit organization provides county residents age 60 and older with hot meals in their residences or at group sites. It also provides other services to older people, including minor home repairs, nutrition classes and help with chores.