Kent County senior millage on August ballot
The ballot question, set for final review May 8, would raise it to 0.50 mills.
A committee of the Kent County Board of Commissioners has approved proposed language for the August primary election ballot that would renew the senior services millage at 0.50 mills. The wording of the ballot proposal now goes to the full commission May 8.
The previous millage funding 45 special services for Kent County residents age 60 and older had been 0.33 mills every year since 2006. The eight-year limitation on it expired in December, with the last levy in 2013 providing funds through 2014.
The senior millage renewal, with an increase of 0.17 mills to 0.50, is estimated to raise about $10 million in its first year. It would be in effect through 2021.
Kent County’s publicly funded senior services are administered under contract with the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan. Jackie O’Connor, assistant director of the AAAWA, said the annual millage funds a variety of 45 services, including home-delivered meals for qualifying seniors, in-home services such as personal care and homemaking assistance, and transportation of seniors to medical appointments.
In 2014, the budget for county tax-funded services is $6.1 million.
Many of the services are aimed at enabling seniors to remain in their homes rather than having to move to assisted living facilities.
O’Connor noted the program provided services to more than 17,000 seniors last year.
Regarding the August primary ballot question, O’Connor said, “It’s an increase, but it’s a minor cost to the average home owner — about $12.50 a year.”
She said AAAWM has administered federal and state funds for senior services for 40 years.
Kent County voters approved a senior services millage in 1998 for a period of eight years, at 0.25 mills.