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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Issue 5 - Tax Levy (Renewal And Increase) - Hamilton County – Senior Citizens Services

A renewal of one and twenty-nine hundredths mills (1.29) of an existing levy and an increase of thirty-one hundredths mill (0.31), to constitute a tax for the benefit of the County of Hamilton, Ohio, for the purpose of supplementing the general fund to provide or maintain senior citizens services or facilities, including a system of home care through the Council on Aging or other service provider(s) for elderly residents, including but not limited to: housekeeping, personal care, respite services (for caregivers), home repair/maintenance, medical transportation, adult day care, home delivered meals, chore services, legal counseling, adult protective services and durable medical equipment at a rate not exceeding one and six-tenths (1.6) mills for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to sixteen cents ($0.16) for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for five (5) years, commencing in 2017, first due in calendar year 2018. FOR THE TAX LEVY  AGAINST THE TAX LEVYISSUE EXPLANATION: This proposed property tax levy is a renewal of an existing levy (1.29 mills) and an increase of 0.31 mills for a total levy of 1.6 mills. The levy, if approved by voters,would continue to provide or maintain senior citizens services or facilities, including a system of home care through the Council on Aging or other service provider(s) for the elderly Hamilton County residents not eligible to receive federal or state funded services.The levy is for five years commencing in 2017, first due in 2018. The levy will produce an estimated annual revenue of $25,658,525 per year which will cost the owner of a $100,000 market value house $40.25. That is an increase of $10.25 a year over the current levy.The Hamilton County Commissioners placed the levy on the ballot.WHAT THE LEVY WILL DO: If approved, this levy will provide funds for the Council on Aging, Adult Protective Services and Veteran Services Board. This levy will produce funds for the Council on Aging (COA) which provides the vast amount of senior services supported through this levy.Through this levy COA funds Hamilton County’s Elderly Services Program to provide services for individuals not eligible to receive federal or state funded services. It helps seniors remain independent in their homes. The Elderly Services Program (ESP) is the core of the Senior Services levy which receives 92% of the funds and provides over 90% or the programs.Primary services provided include:Home care assistance which includes:caregiver respite, companion, homemaking and personal care;Emergency response systems;Home modifications;Home delivered meals;Case management;Transportation;In 2016, COA provided 5,797 County residents with services through this program at an average monthly cost of $367 per person. If that same person were in a nursing home and on Medicaid, the cost to taxpayers would be approximately $4,000 per month. Of the total clients served, 72% are women, more than half lived alone and more than 40% of clients are over the age of 80. Clients are people of modest means with an average income of $19,596 per year and out-of-pocket medical expenses averaging nearly$3,000 per year. High demand and limited funding had previously resulted with waiting lists for enrollment.Hamilton County Jobs and Family Services (JFS) also receives Senior Services levy funding for the operation of Adult Protective Services. JFS provides state mandated adult protective services, investigating cases of abuse, neglect or exploitation of persons over age 60.The Hamilton County Veterans Services Board administers assistance to eligible veterans and dependents. Ohio law requires the county commissioners fund a lawful budget request from the Veterans Board within a limit established by law. The Veterans Board receives minimal funding from the levy.BACKGROUND: The ESP has been funded with a property tax levy since 1992. The last millage increase for the Senior Service Levy was ten years ago. Following the 2012 levy renewal,the Elderly Services Program was in a deficits pending position that projected a $90,000 loss. Elderly Services controlled the program so they did not run into deficit spending. To reduce costs the COA undertook restructuring of the program that included prioritizing clients’needs and developing a waiting list. There is no waiting list currently. COA requested an increased renewal levy.The levy today generates $2 million less than it did in 2008. The Tax Levy Review Committee (TLRC) recommended that the tax levy be renewed at the current rate of 1.29 mills ($19.4 million a year) for a shorter 3-year period and then be reviewed again. Inits report, the TLRC agreed with consultant findings that the Elderly Services Program provides high quality, cost effective social services for a vulnerable and growing segment of Hamilton County. The consultants noted that the number of seniors in Hamilton County is increasing approximately 5.8% per year with an increasing number of elderly in the 80-90 year age range.The Hamilton County Commissioners placed a proposed increased levy renewal on the ballot because of the increased population and decrease in funds. In doing so, it referenced additional programs that could be funded by the levy: Homeless Respite Care, Visiting Nurses Program, and a Health University Initiative operated by the nonprofit Center for Closing the Health Gap. Regarding the new programs; each provider is vetted and accountability is considered when selecting a provider for a service during a competitive bidding process. These programs were originally researched under the Indigent Care Levy. Any programs funded by the Senior Services Levy must serve seniors only. Lastly COA will bid services where there is an unmet need for seniors.
  • Yes - For the Tax Levy

  • No - Against the Tax Levy

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