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Senior services levy

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Vivian Moon View Drop Down
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    Posted: Jan 20 2017 at 6:43am

3 big questions about Middletown senior services levy

Mike Rutledge

Staff Writer

6:42 p.m Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017  

 

MIDDLETOWN

Middletown voters will decide on a senior services renewal levy this spring.

Middletown City Council unanimously voted this week to place a senior services levy renewal on the May 2 ballot.

The proposed five-year, 1-mill levy renewal for Central Connections, which operates the senior center at 3909 Central Ave., will cost owners of a $100,000 home less than $30 per year, Richard Isroff, co-chair of the levy committee, told council before the vote.

MORE: How levy funds will be spent and who will benefit

Here are some of the questions that were posed to Central Connections officials, and their answers during Tuesday’s meeting:

1. Is it possible to reduce the amount or number of years of the levy?

Monica Smith, executive director of Central Connections,said an elections attorney the organization works with said the number of years could be reduced without a new resolution going before the city council, “however, the millage can’t change without a new resolution or starting over.”

Officials have said it would be too late to start over and still place the matter on the May ballot.

Council did not reduce the levy’s term during their meeting this week.

2. Could the city manage the levy proceeds through an agreement between the senior center and city government?

Smith said Central Connections “would be in favor of an agreement or a contract between the senior center and the city of Middletown.”

Mayor Larry Mulligan Jr. said he had asked that question because he wanted to know whether city government could “be a little more specific in terms of how the funds would be used, maybe allow for some check points once the mortgage is reduced… Allow council to determine possibly how those could be used.”

That would “allow us to have a little better control and oversight,” Mulligan said.

Meanwhile, Council Member Dan Picard said he didn’t want the city to become involved in running Central Connections.

Isroff said the organization is willing to be more specific about how the levy money can be spent.

3. Council Member Talbott Moon noted that with the levy generating $662,000 per year over five years, that’s about twice the money that will be needed to pay off the mortgage. “Can you give the public a little bit of information of where rest of the (money) is going to go?” Moon asked.

Smith answered that could be a conversation the organization could have with city government about oversight.

Officials previously have said the excess also could be used for roof repairs and a fund to finance future capital needs.

Isroff also said by the time the levy term expires, Middletown seniors will account for 20 percent of the population, compared with 16 percent now.

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whistlersmom View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 24 2017 at 5:10am
Councilman Moon has raised a good point -- and if the original 5 year levy raised $662,000 each year why wasn't the mortgage reduced or paid off in the first five years? How were those funds really spent? The new senior center was an unnecessarily expensive undertaking done without federal funding which the city could have obtained by going thru proper channels, but chose to cast aside in favor of putting it on our property taxes. And indeed where will the new "excess" monies go?
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whistlersmom View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 04 2017 at 10:59pm
IMPORTANT !!!      From the Journal-News 4-3-17:

“Middletown area voters will decide May 2 on a 1-mill, five-year renewal senior services levy.”

This should NOT be called a SENIOR SERVICES levy. It has nothing to do with senior services! It’s really about PAYING OFF A MORTGAGE on an unnecessarily expensive over built replacement for the original Senior Citizens Center that was next door to the city building. HUD paid for our original Senior Center !! And we already are paying for the REAL senior services levy on our property taxes!


“Central Connections Executive Director Monica Smith told the Journal-News the levy is needed to help continue to pay down on the mortgage on the building so the agency can concentrate on serving the public.

The organization had a 1-mill, five-year levy on the ballot in 2012, which was overwhelmingly supported, and was also intended to pay down that debt."

That’s right, the first five-year levy was intended to PAY OFF the mortgage !! All $3.6 million!



“The intent, Smith said, is to not have to go back to voters at the end of this levy. If approved, the levy will continue to cost the owner of a $100,000 home less than $30 a year, she said. It’s designed to generate roughly $662,000 each year.”


These are the same words they used in 2012. Over $3.3 million raised in five years. When they ask AGAIN for a renewal in 2022, THEN will they really, really intend not to go back to voters at the end of that levy?



“Central Committee officials previously said because of funding cuts they are not able to pay off the mortgage with the current five-year levy.”

Funding cuts have absolutely no connection to the levy money for paying off the mortgage!!



“The senior center’s original mortgage was $3.6 million, and all but a small portion for operation — $26,000 — exclusively went to pay down the mortgage. The levy will help pay down the remaining balance, an estimated $1.6 million, officials said.”

Since they have collected (thru the 2012 levy), over the last 5 years, 100% of the money for the mortgage and only $26,000 was misused for operation, why is there a balance of $1.6 million or 45% of the original $3.6 million mortgage?   That’s BIG money. Where is it?



“Some Middletown council members have expressed concerns that the (new) levy is generating twice the amount of money needed to pay off the mortgage.”

The new levy would generate about $3.4 million. I guess they need a $1.7 million slush fund. How gullible do they think we are? Hopefully the voters will see through this scam.

If Middletown is to survive (remember the auditor’s fiscal cliff?) we must reduce our property taxes, income taxes and government waste. We now pay the highest property taxes in the state. We can no longer afford to pay for city officials who habitually make gross bureaucratic mistakes with taxpayers money. NOW is the time to start taking our city back from the over spending, over regulating, over taxing city government.   Cutting off the funds is one way to correct our out of control city government. Another way is to elect new, honest people to replace our bureaucratic nightmare.


VOTE THIS LEVY DOWN !!! Tell everyone you know to do the same !!!
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke
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VietVet View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 04 2017 at 11:48pm
Observations:

First of all, the notion by city council and Mulligan to suggest the city oversee the finances of the senior center levy is hilarious at best. Are you kidding? As bad as the city is with handling money and THEY want to "oversee someone else's budget? I wouldn't want the dam city managing a kid's lunch money much less a large budget like this.

Secondly, and not to sanction the levy or condemn it, let's make a comparison between what you get with the seniors levy and what you get for 80% of your property taxes to support the dam schools. For around 30 bucks a year on the seniors levy, you provide rides for disabled people who are in wheelchairs and can't afford a 60 thousand dollar specialized handicapped van to haul them to drs appointments. You supply a gathering place for socializing and dining for a growing part of our society who have put in their time just as we all must do, especially since the baby boomers are aging and needing senior services. It will be used even more as more boomers retire and the next generation follows. The flip side of it is that they bit off more than they could chew on building this place. The mortgage, without some grants or outside help, is a tad bit overwhelming for anyone to undertake. Poor planning on someone's part.

What do you get for the 80% of your property taxes that go to the schools? You get a lousy performance, an overpaid admin and teacher staff producing and inferior product when graduated, so much so that Miami U.- Middletown has to set up a remedial program at the campus to upgrade the incoming freshmen from Middletown High School to help them start the freshman year at MUM. They simply aren't aren't ready when graduated from high school to attend college here in Middletown. For your 80% portion of your property taxes you also get a bottom tier grade standing on proficiency testing, a low indicator track record of accomplishment and a continual line of superintendent's who constantly ignore these facts, preferring to build new buildings instead of improving the academics in this district. You also get lousy performing sports programs in basketball, football and an 0-3 baseball team as an added treat. Still think that 80% of your property taxes are a good deal in comparison to the senior's levy money spent? I don't.

If I'm forced to pay property taxes, the 30 bucks for the seniors seems to be the better deal by far IMO. We all are getting ripped off paying for these lousy schools through our property taxes and the unnecessary need for their new schools in the approved bond levy. Hell, they can't educate the kids right in the new schools (elementary's) either as the performance hasn't changed be it old building or new.

No, the city needs to stay out of it. They screw up everything they touch, especially if it involves money.
I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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whistlersmom View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 05 2017 at 11:29am
VietVet,
I am not opposed to the senior levy that pays for services. I wholeheartedly support the real senior services levy that is presently in effect on our property taxes and which is NOT UP FOR RENEWAL.

This renewal levy is NOT a services levy. It is a completely separate levy. This renewal is only to pay off a mortgage that was supposed to be paid off with the first five-year levy. This renewal is for about double the amount now needed to pay off the mortgage, but even the overage will NOT be used for services. (And really how the money would be used is unclear.) This renewal would be totally unnecessary if the money from the first five-year levy had been used as intended. This renewal is a perfect example of throwing good money after bad.

Repeat; IT WILL NOT INCREASE OR EVEN SUPPORT CURRENT SENIOR SERVICES!
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 05 2017 at 2:29pm
I understand whismom. Poor planning and money handling on the Senior Center's part has led to a distrust for the citizens in their operation. Irresponsible spending on the first levy approval and now asking for another round of funds trying to temper the blow with the comment concerning having their funding cut. They still managed to buy new transport vans. If the levy were to pass, perhaps the public would feel more comfortable about this if an unbiased party would act as the fiduciary in this case, making the senior center provide justification for money usage and the amount asked for could be reduced to avoid the perception of asking for too much. The taxpayer needs to be informed periodically of their spending accountability if approved.

As far as levies are concerned, I still can't get as worked up about the seniors levy, even with this additional request as I do on any school levy money request. Just seems to me to be a better return on the taxpayer's money supporting the seniors than it does giving money to the Middletown schools. Talking about money wasted with absolutely no return....that would be the schools. At least the seniors offer some tangible services. 800+ bucks a year in property taxes for schools, especially when the property owner isn't getting squat for their taxes, can't be justified IMO.
I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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