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The League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus

News

League Pros & Cons for Issue 1 - Franklin County Office of Aging Proposed Tax Levy

Friday, Apr. 21, 2017

Franklin County Office on Aging Proposed Tax Levy – Renewal and Increase

Supports a system of home- and community-based care for seniors and their families.

Renewal of 1.3 mills with an increase of 0.45 mills to constitute 1.75 mills, $0.175 per $100 valuation, for 5 years, commencing in 2017

League Explanation

The Franklin County Office on Aging is requesting that voters approve a 1.75 mill levy. This levy is a renewal of the existing 1.3 mill levy plus an additional 0.45 mills.The additional 0.45-mill increase is requested because there will not be enough funds at the end of the year to pay for services such as home-delivered meals, transportation, and light housekeeping through the Franklin County Senior Options program. Currently, the owner of a $100,000 home pays $40 for the levy. If approved, this levy renewal and increase will last for 5 years and cost a homeowner with a home appraisal of $100,000 an additional $15 for an annual amount of $55. 

Most of the funding supports four main senior services through the Franklin County Senior Options (FCSO) program. These include Home and Community Care, Customer Services Management, Safe Housing, and Community Support, Outreach and Specialized Services. The majority – 95%— of funding for these services issupported bylevy revenues. The other 5% of revenue comes from fees for services and grants.

Franklin County first passed a senior levy in 1992 at a rate of .75 mills, and has passed each subsequent levy request with moderate increases every 5 years. Over 55,606 seniors and their families are assisted annually by the services and programs funded by the senior levy.The typical recipient of these services is a female over age 75 who lives alone.With 3.2% of seniors living in nursing homes, Franklin County leads the state in the effort to support the wishes of seniors and their families who want to remain in their homes. This compares with the state average of 4.1% of seniors living in nursing homes.

Arguments Made in Support of Issue 1

Services help older adults maintain their sense of independence, retain a good quality of life, and avoid or delay the need for institutional care.

Customer satisfaction surveys show that over 90% of Senior Options participants highly value their services and their case managers.

Helping seniors remain in their homes is far less expensive than the cost of nursing homes.

The senior population of Franklin County is projected to increase 30% from 2015 to 2025. The number of seniors over 60, who now account for 20% of the population, would increase to account for 25% under these projections.

Arguments Made in Opposition toIssue 1

In challenging economic times, other public and private entities are making do with less, but the renewal levy and increase will result in taxpayers paying more in taxes.

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Senior services should rely less on property taxes and instead seek a more diverse base of funding (e.g., user fees).

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