The Williams County Department of Aging will go to the November general election ballot to seek a levy renewal.
The department is seeking renewal by majority vote of all in Williams County to renew a 0.5-mill levy for a period of five years beginning in 2021. It is intended for use in maintaining services and facilities for senior citizens.
The measure, first approved in November 2015, will be up for vote on Nov. 3. The levy generates $342,251 annually and costs the owner of a $100,000 home about $17.50 annually, according to Williams County Department of Aging Director Maggie Fisher.
“The population and demand for services will increase in the next five years,” a letter from Fisher explained to county commissioners, appealing for their support. “The home-delivery and transportation services are continuously growing, requiring newer vehicles, capital expenses and operating costs.
“The passage of this renewal will position Williams County to continue to provide much-needed services for senior citizens to enable them to live in their homes in the community,” the letter stated.
Annually, the department serves more than 43,000 meals at its seven senior centers, while also typically delivering more than 84,000 to homebound seniors via nine vehicles.
“We have some newer vehicles, which helps greatly, but with the constant use and, they take a lot of repair,” said Fisher. “They cover a lot of miles.”
The department currently operates numerous routes in the county and is looking to add an additional route in Montpelier with the increase in senior population there.
And COVID-19 has the department preparing to begin serving as many as 85,000 in-home delivered meals by the end of the year.
Further, even if the COVID-19 crisis subsides relatively soon, staff are preparing for seniors to more frequently utilize the delivery service rather than eat at their senior centers.
“We want to make sure the most vulnerable individuals are taken care of, protected and safe,” said Fisher.
The Department of Aging draws funding from the levy up for renewal, as well as a five-year, 1-mill general operating levy and an additional, 0.3-mill levy.
Combined, the levies bring in about $1.1 million annually, a “significant” portion of the department’s $1.5 million annual budget
“We’re very appreciative to the community,” said Fisher. “They’ve been very supportive of our levies. We’re blessed and grateful to be able to provide these services.”