Senior Citizens Levy Funds To Be Divided

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The Athens County Commissioners have begun the process of dividing up this year’s income from a senior citizens levy, and once again local senior groups are asking for more than is available.

On Tuesday, the commissioners held a hearing to allow senior citizen organizations to state reasons why they should be funded. There is a list of 18 groups being considered for funding, and representatives of about a dozen of them spoke at the hearing. Most just outlined services they provide to seniors and thanked the commissioners for past funding.

The commissioners said about $339,000 is available for distribution now, although more funds will become available when the second-half real estate tax collection is completed. So far, requests total $426,534, but 12 of the groups on the list have yet to tell the commissioners a specific amount of money they would like to receive.

In past years, most of the money has gone to United Seniors of Athens County. County Commission President Lenny Eliason said that’s because United Seniors provides countywide services. Also, United Seniors uses the money as match to receive federal funding.

Mike Turner, executive director of United Seniors, noted that Tuesday was the 25th time senior citizen groups have met to request a share of the funds. The levy was first approved in 1986.

The 0.75-mill, five-year levy was last endorsed by voters in 2011. Turner said it garnered 72 percent of the vote, the highest percentage ever, which he called “really amazing and gratifying.”

Groups that have already asked for specific amounts include United Seniors of Athens County, $375,000; Shade Senior Citizens, $8,000; Three Star Senior Citizens, Glouster, $10,000; Retired Senior Volunteer Program, $25,000; Kilvert Community Center Seniors, $4,500; HAVAR, $1,334; Glouster Project, $2,700.

Other groups that have not yet requested specific amounts are: Albany Community Seniors; Albany Community Center, Athens Senior Club, Community Action, Chauncey Friendly Circle Seniors; Federal Valley Seniors; Good Works; Lottridge Senior Citizens; Nelsonville Lunch Bunch; Old Settlers Seniors; Troy Twp. Seniors.

Eliason said that in past years the commissioners have given United Seniors of Athens County partial funding and distributed money to other local senior groups, and then given United Seniors additional funding after the second-half tax collection.