Vote 'Yes' on Senior Citizen Levy
In addition to voting on candidates for various offices, general election voters are being asked this year to vote on the question of increasing their property taxes to provide $125,000 a year for the next five years to support programs for our senior citizens.
Like many agencies that depend upon government for at least a portion of their funds, Pocahontas County Senior Citizens has been receiving less funds from government sources in recent years. One federal source was reduced by 15% from 2004 to 2005.ﾠ A 5% cut in federal and state funding began this month.
As a result, the agency has been running a deficit for the past several years, despite a cutback in services provided to our countyﾒs seniors, a reduction in staff, and increases in recommended in donations from those receiving services. These losses have ranged from $4,400 to over $79,000.
Members of the public not associated with the senior citizen programs in some fashion are probably generally aware of the meal program offered to seniors, at the senior centers and by home delivery, and have seen the small buses that transport seniors to the centers and medical appointments.
Increases in the cost of food and fuel, along with reduced reimbursement for these programs, have forced the substitution of frozen meals for the home meal program and reduced the number of days medical transportation is available.
However, our local senior citizen agency offers more services to its clients.ﾠ Included are programs providing assistance to seniors in their homes with bathing, dressing, and other activities of daily living, including limited household duties; nursing care in the home; programs that send a worker to a home with individuals providing care for family members, including those with Alzheimers, to give them some respite time to run errands, etc.; a chore program for seniors unable to provide for themselves; a program to provide nutritional supplements at reduced cost; and assistance to complete the paperwork associated with Medicare, etc, and to obtain housing, commodities, clothing, etc.
If the excess levy is approved, the $125,000 will be used to again deliver hot meals to the homes of seniors and make medical transportation available five days week.
There has been a lot of emphasis in recent years at the federal level in the always politically popular idea of reducing taxes and the Congress passed several bills to reduce taxes in the early years on the present administration. At the state level, Gov. Manchin announced a tax reduction plan.
The argument about whether these or any tax decreases are good for the country is never ending and not the purpose of this comment.ﾠ However, one thing is certain: lower taxes at the federal or state levels eventually trickle down to less funds available for programs at the end of the pipe, such as those for senior programs in Pocahontas County.
Thus, tax cuts at one end often result in the need for a tax increase at the other end, if services for people are going to be retained.
In this case the increase in taxes needed to provide the requested $125,000 is small.ﾠ For example, on a owner-occupied residence (Class II) assessed at $30,000 for tax purposes, the annual increase in property tax will be only $4.44.ﾠﾠ If the same person has $10,000 in personal property assessed on their tax ticket (Class III), the increase will be $2.96 cents, for a total of $7.40.ﾠ Even on a residence assessed for tax purposes at $100,000, the increase is only $14.80.
Surely, we can afford these small amounts to improve the services provided to those wonderful people who have already made their contributions to our society, our senior citizens.
This paper urges a ﾓyesﾔ vote on the senior citizen levy.
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