Local Officials Concerned About Ballot Wording Of Senior Services Levy

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The Franklin County Office on Aging is afraid local residents won’t know that a November ballot issue would help local seniors.

Ruth Hawk doesn't give her age, and she doesn't mince words.

“You'll have to call my doctor, my insurance agent or my tax preparer, and if any of those tell you (my age), I'll kill ‘em,” said Hawk.

But she has no illusions about her age and her limitations.

“There's a lot of things I can't do, shouldn't do. I've resigned myself to that fact that I am getting older,” she said.

So Hawk relies on the services of Franklin County's Senior Options program to help her stay in her home. They help with jobs like cleaning the bathroom and kitchen.

Those services could be in jeopardy, depending on the outcome of Issue 56 on the November ballot.
“The entire Senior Options program will cease to be if this levy doesn't pass,” said Antonia Carroll.

Carroll is the director of Franklin County's Office on Aging, which is funded almost entirely by a property tax levy.

“Everyone who gets a meal through Senior Options or a homemaker or transportation through Senior Options, all of that would cease if this levy doesn't pass,” added Carroll.

It’s Issue 56 on the ballot, and it would cost the homeowner of a $100,000 home $39.81 a year.

But due to a ruling by the Secretary of State, local officials feel this year's levy is not spelled out as clearly as it should be on the ballot.

“In the past it has said ‘Senior Services Levy’ or ‘Senior Options.’ Right now, it just says ‘Franklin County,’" said Carroll.

Carroll hopes voters will read the fine print on the ballot and continue supporting care to keep seniors in their homes.

Around 56,000 Franklin County citizens receive services from the county's Senior Options program.

Issue 56 includes an increase over the existing levy, which amounts to $12 annually per $100,000 of assessed property value.

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