Levies will help senior services

Everyone has a friend, relative or neighbor who could use the services offered by the Prime Time Office on Aging.

The senior services levy which benefits Prime Time is up for renewal on the May 6 ballot. The 1-mill levy generates about $1 million a year. Prime Time also is asking for a 0.2-mill increase, bringing the total to 1.2 mills.

The 0.2 of a mill increase will cost the owner of a $50,000 home about 80 cents a month. The current 1-mill costs the same homeowner about $4.20 a month. The combined cost is $60 per year.

Everyone knows what has happened to food and gasoline prices during the past 10 years. The increasing costs have forced Prime Time to cut back some services just to stick with the core offerings of delivered and congregate meals and transportation for seniors to medical appointments.

The cost of delivered meals and congregate sites throughout the county accounts for 80 percent of the money generated by the 1-mill levy. There were 201,232 home-delivered meals and 50,142 meals provided at congregate meal sites last year. The average cost of a meal is $3.63.

Transportation amounts to 12 percent of the budget.

There are 200 people on a waiting list to get home-delivered meals. The number will be cut in half if the levy is approved, according to Prime Time.

The home delivered meals are welcomed by senior citizens, many of whom probably don’t eat much else throughout the day, especially those who have just come home from the hospital.

There were 14,540 transportation trips provided to senior citizens last year. Prime Time has wheelchair-accessible vans. Many of the senior citizens may not have been able to make a doctor’s visit without the Prime Time vans.

The ultimate goal of Prime Time is to help senior citizens lead a healthy, independent lifestyle.

Today, unlike decades ago, sons and daughters of senior citizens are both employed, making it difficult to get to mom or dad’s house to help with meals or take them to the doctor. Without the services of Prime Time, many senior citizens would be in jeopardy of losing the healthy and independent lifestyle.

We encourage voters to approve the levy renewal and increase so help can be provided to our vulnerable older residents.