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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Butler County senior levy passes by largest margin ever

Clavilia and Forrest, Butler County Elderly Services Program clients
Clavilia is a caregiver for her husband Forrest who has Alzheimer's.  The couple receives in-home help through the Butler County Elderly Services Program

On November 3, for the fifth time in 19 years, the voters of Butler County approved a senior services tax levy to provide assistance that helps frail older adults stay in their homes. The 1.3-mill renewal levy passed by the largest margin ever: 74.4 percent!

“Clearly, the people of Butler County have shown that they care about seniors and keeping them in the community,” said David Mancuso, Director of Development and Community Relations for LifeSpan, Inc. and chairman of the levy campaign. “It was wonderful to have such a strong show of support.”

The levy provides more than 90 percent of the funding for Butler County’s Elderly Services Program. In 2014, the program served more than 3,800 seniors with services such as home-delivered meals, transportation, and home care assistance. It costs an average $306 per month to help a senior on the Elderly Services Program. If that person were in a nursing home on Medicaid, it would cost taxpayers 14 times that much – more than $4,000 a month.

“Voters see the value of this program in the lives of their parents, grandparents, older friends and neighbors and even themselves, said Council on Aging President and CEO Suzanne Burke. “As we age, we all want to stay in our homes for as long as possible.” Council on Aging manages the Elderly Services Program via contract with Butler County Commissioners.

Many volunteers worked hard to spread the word about the levy and rally voters.

“Placing yard signs, delivering ESP literature, speaking to community groups, and other activities reflected the grassroots support for the Elderly Services Program,” said Cynthia Stever, board president of Butler County Citizens for Elderly Services, the volunteer community group that advises and supports the program.

The next senior services levy will be for Warren County’s Elderly Services Program. Warren County’s 1.21-mill levy expires in December 2016 and must be approved by the voters before then in order for the program to continue. In 2014, the Warren County Elderly Services Program served nearly 2,500 seniors. The last levy was renewed in November 2011 with 72 percent of the vote.

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