GEORGE BROWN
Renewal levy for Senior Services will be on ballot

May 5th, 2011    Author: George Brown    Filed Under: Opinion

At the Clermont Senior Services board meeting last week I presented the annual report for 2010. The purpose of this report is to provide a summary of our budget and service performance for the past year.

An important part of the report each year is the board chairman’s message to the community. In this message it is customary for the chairman to reflect on the accomplishments of the past year, and to also share comments about the challenges that lie ahead.

Tom Rocklin has served as board chairman for the past two years, and his message in the 2010 annual report is especially timely during these difficult economic times. Here is Tom’s message to the community.

When you’ve tightened your belt as much as you think you possibly can and you realize it is not enough, what do you do? You take a deep breath and tighten it again. This is what we have been doing at Clermont Senior Services for the last few years.

Space does not permit a detailed accounting of the austerity measures we have taken, but the numbers tell the story. Expenses declined from 2008 to 2009, and declined again in 2010. As revenues declined during this period, we remained firmly committed to not spending money we did not have.

Sound stewardship in the use of the dollars entrusted to us is a responsibility we take seriously. Programs have been meticulously reviewed and optimized allowing us to maintain and in some cases even expand services.

We now face a formidable challenge. The current Senior Services Levy, which represents nearly 80 percent of our funding, will expire at the end of 2011.

The levy must be on the ballot in November to continue funding from 2012 through 2016. The citizens of Clermont County have consistently supported this levy.

However, some may not be aware that, if the Senior Services Levy does not pass, funding will totally cease for meals-on-wheels, medical transportation and other vital services that help older adults continue to live at home.

The only alternative for many would be Medicaid funded nursing home care, which is more costly for all taxpayers.

Our Board of Trustees has asked the Board of County Commissioners to place a 1.3 mill renewal levy on the November ballot. A renewal levy will not increase taxes for the citizens of Clermont County.

Significant financial risks lie ahead, such as rising gasoline prices. The uncertain and prolonged downturn in the economy requires that we deliberately and carefully manage what we have, just as struggling families throughout Clermont County must do.

We cannot predict that waiting lists may not be necessary at some point in the future. But be assured, “Service with Heart” is our cornerstone, and we remain unwavering in our resolve to provide high quality, cost effective services that make a difference in the lives of those we serve – just as we have done for the past 40 years.

The annual report is available on our website at www.clermontseniors.com or you may call the office at (513) 724-1255 to request a copy.

George Brown is the executive director of Clermont Senior services.

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