organization wants levy renewal
a.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016 http://www.journal-news.com/community/middletown" rel="nofollow -
http://www.journal-news.com/news/local/middletown-central-connections-under-new-leadership/za8PDClPP5Sv1vASo6Lq8I/" rel="nofollow - 3909 Central Ave.
organization will need “yes” votes from 4 of 5 members of Middletown City
Council on Tuesday to take a step toward placing the issue on the May ballot.
That’s because to meet tight deadlines the issue will be placed before the
council as an emergency matter, requiring more than the usual majority vote.
Connections serves not only senior residents, but also others who are 50 or
older, and calls itself a lifeline for many in the Middletown area, keeping many of them in
nearly 10,500 home-delivered meals a month to people, 84.4 percent of them in
Middletown zip codes; an average of 1,094 essential trips a month (88.5 percent
to people in Middletown zip codes); and independent-living help to an average
of 28 clients per month, 95.4 percent of them in Middletown zip codes.
Central Connections, which provides
home-delivered meals, transportation and independent-living help to older
Middletown-area residents, hopes to put a tax-levy renewal on the May ballot to
help pay off the mortgage on its building at 3909 Central Ave. STAFF FILE/2015
Isroff, a board member, finance committee member and co-chairman of the levy
committee, told council Dec. 20 the levy renewal is needed because of budget
cuts that have cost the organization $450,000 in annual funding from Butler County.
through the county, we’ve lost over $450,000 worth of annual income,” Isroff
said. “That $450,000 prevents us from being able to complete our goal, which
was to be able to pay off our mortgage.”
$1,260,000 remains on the mortgage, Isroff said.
“This levy will
take us out of debt, pay off our mortgage, and do something that everybody
needs when you have a major facility, which is create a sinking fund for future
security of our building,” Isroff said. “So what we’d like today is just to ask
you to let the citizens of Middletown make that decision, and ask you to let us
put this on the ballot, and let us find out where the citizens stand, and how
they feel about our senior citizens’ organization.”
Doug Adkins said his administration might have difficulty meeting deadlines
necessary to place the matter on the May ballot. Adkins also said Middletown has some of
the highest property taxes in the state.
Tax rates already high
talked a little bit about being the highest effective tax rate for property
taxes in Ohio,”
Adkins told council members. “I’m not saying that to sway your decision either
way, other than the levy falling off does help us in that manner. So services
versus property taxes, it’s one of those situations, I’m not sure there’s a
right answer. It’s more the view of council on how they would like to move
members seemed wary of renewing the five-year levy, which expires in late 2017.
In Talbott Moon’s case, that’s partly because of the high tax rates, and partly
because even more funding cuts from Ohio’s
state government may be on the way.
In response to
Adkins’ comment about Middletown’s
high property-tax rates, Moon said: “Both options seem to be not great
predicted: “We’ll be self-sustaining after this renewal.”
But Moon noted:
“The governor has already come out and said it’s going to be another lean
budget,” and added he fears “we’re going to be having the same conversation in
responded: “You have a crystal ball?”
replied: “Yeah, I don’t. I know.”
Moon also said:
“I’ll say here what I said when we met privately, that whether this council
decides to put it on the ballot or not, in our economic system, people vote
every day with the non-profits they give to and … where they spend their
dollars. That needs to be a major factor.”
A safe place
executive director of Central Connections, called the center a “safe place”
that connects people with the outside world and meals, and improves their
quality of life by allowing them to remain in their homes.
“This is a safe
place for the senior citizens of Middletown
to come,” she said, adding: “We’ve grown our catering and our rentals” to raise
money for services the organization provides.
“I have someone
who’s here every single day for a meal,” Smith said. “This is her only hot meal
— she has an aide who comes with her — and this is her only time to socialize.
This is her bright spot.”
said, that woman “got robbed. They came in. She had a little stash. She gets
$125 in food stamps a month. And people had gone together and gotten her gift
cards. They stole all her gift cards, all her cash. She came in and couldn’t
pay her ($50-per-year) membership fee, and was just distraught.”
circumstances, her fee was waived, and extra meals were boxed up for her.
one story,” Smith said. “I have a gentleman who told me this is his life. His
wife has passed away. This is where he comes. So that’s why the building itself
is important, and people feel safe. We have adult children who drop their
parents off here, and they’re here all day. And we’re not an adult daycare, but
where else would these people go if they did not have the senior center to come
to? And we keep them independent (and able to remain in their homes).”
that we get from the levy strictly have gone toward paying off the mortgage,
and people say, ‘Well, what if you just move to another building?’” Smith said.
“Well, the purpose of building this building was we outgrew the last building.”
“There are a
lot of things that need to operate out of this building,” Smith said. Without a
levy’s passage, “There’s a lot of different things that we will look at to try
to save this building and save the things that go on in this building.”
“All we are
asking is that we let the voters decide — we let the citizens of Middletown decide — and
at least get it on the ballot,” Smith said.