2018-08-05 / News

Commission on Aging seeks millage increase

SAGINAW COUNTY – On the August primary ballot Saginaw County voters will be asked to consider a renewal and an increase of millage supporting the Saginaw County Commission on Aging. The proposal seeks the renewal of the existing 0.43 mills, along with an increase of the levy to 0.59 for the purpose of continuing operations. If approved, the millage would run for six years, from 2019 through 2024.

Saginaw County Commission on Aging Director Jessica Sargent said, “Demand for services continues to increase as the baby boomer generation enters into their 60s. This generation reflects the largest birth rates in history and demand for services continue to increase as a result. The agency is supported by local property taxes, federal and state grants, and donations. Older adult services have been provided in a cost-effective manner in Saginaw County; however costs of providing services continues to increase and we cannot continue to operate in a deficit position. The Commission on Aging had a budget deficit last year and will have one again for this year. The cost of providing services has continued to increase with little to no growth in the tax base or federal/state grant funding. All while demand for services continues to grow. This is evident in both our home delivered meals program and transportation services.”

She said, “The agency has not asked the public for an increase in the millage in 10 years and the increase would allow for us to maintain programs and services at the current level. The increase will also allow for the expansion of the home delivered meals program and at a minimum add an additional caseworker, Meals on Wheels delivery drivers, and a home delivered meals aid to eliminate home delivered meal waiting lists. Additional staffing hours will also be provided in the transportation program for nonemergency medical transportation and grocery trip shopping.”

Sargent explained, the organization cannot continue to operate at a deficit. If the millage does not pass the current service levels won’t be maintained and services and programs would be reduced throughout the county. “At a minimum, this means longer wait lists for services and reduction in services at the senior centers,” she said.

The services provided include: Meals on Wheels, Dining Senior Style, senior centers throughout the county, senior center events, case management, information and referral, care giver support, care management for frail elderly, free cell phones for seniors, transportation, foster grandparent program, emergency food assistance, minority outreach, in-home support services, volunteer opportunities, the Saginaw County Commission on Aging Board meetings, legal consultation and referral clinics, as well as the Kinship Caregiver program which offers assistance, to adults age 55 and over, who are raising their grandchildren.

Individuals can learn more about the agency’s programs and services through the county website www.saginawcounty.com/coa, as well as the new Facebook page, by visiting one of the 11 senior centers located throughout the county or by calling the main office at (989)797-6880.

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