Vinton County Primary Ballot To Again Feature Senior, Children Services Levy

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With no contested races in the upcoming May primary election, all eyes are on the county’s senior and children services levy.

Residents will again vote on whether to approve the levy — a 10-year, 1.5 mill property tax — after it was narrowly defeated this past November. The levy seeks to raise $260,000 per year to go exclusively to causes within Vinton County, split between the Senior Citizen’s Center as well as children services within the South Central Ohio Job and Family Services.

If passed, the owner of a $50,000 home would pay around $26.25 annually for 10 years, according to Vinton County Auditor Cindy Owings. Based on census data on property values, the average county resident would pay $44.50 per year.

“The levy dollars would make a big impact,” said Jody Walker, executive director of SCOJFS. “We’re looking at the two most vulnerable populations — the elderly and children.”

Walker said that his office provides services to multiple counties, but that voters would only be deciding on funds to be utilized by Vinton County. The family services agency has a need for further funding, Walker said, due to the high proportion of children in county custody.

The agency spends approximately $350,000 per year on the foster care system in Vinton County, Walker said.

“We want to keep kids with their homes and relatives,” he said. “This funding helps provide more support with families.”

The levy would also stand to benefit the county’s Senior Citizen’s Center. With increased lifespans and population within the county, Director Rhoda Toon-Price has said $130,000 the center would take in each year can maintain current services to seniors.

“Transportation is a good example. We are taking people to shop since there is a limited amount you can get near home,” she wrote in the Courier’s Senior News Notes earlier this spring.

In the weeks before the May 6 primary, Walker hopes to host another community information session regarding the levy to address concerns and questions voters might have.

The previous attempt at the levy failed with 1,270 nay votes to 1,139.