Delaware County residents will soon be voting on an increase to their current mill rate. An increase of 0.1 mill could determine whether senior citizens in the county continue to have access to a wide range of services, including home care support.
Currently, the aging population in the county is the fastest growing demographic, which is in line with population growth across much of the country. As the Baby Boomer generation reaches retirement age, and will do so for more than another decade, it will place more pressure on social services as aging men and women are at a greater risk of requiring some level of direct assistance and facing various physical and health challenges the older they get.
While there are no formal surveys to determine the likelihood that this increase will or will not pass, it essentially works out to a $3.50 per $100,000 of property valuation increase. According to some, that equals just pennies per day.
According to a news blog posted by The Delaware Gazette, entitled, Funding for senior services up for vote, written by D. Anthony Botkin:
“[SourcePoint Executive Director Robert] Horrocks added the senior adult population is currently the fastest growing segment in Delaware County, which he said is a good thing. He said an older population “provides a sense of stability” because most older adults are healthy, financially secure, engaged in the community, and pay sales tax, property taxes and income taxes.
But, Horrocks said there is a subset of the senior population in need of support to keep living safe and secure in their own homes. He gave an example of SourcePoint’s average client as being female, 79-years-old, widowed, and living alone at home.
“The fastest growing part of the population is 85 years and older,” he told commissioners in January. “As we age, there is the greater likelihood of having a moderate or severe disability.””
Currently, seniors in Delaware County consider the services they do enjoy to be excellent, but with a growing senior population, without an increase in funding, there could very well be limits to what can be provided in the future.
While an aging population provides a sound financial base, without adequate access to essential services, like home care, this could drive some older residents to neighboring counties or even out of state.
80 percent of current in home care services supported by the government is covered by levy tax dollars in Delaware County. Failure to increase these taxes could make the continuation of services as they are more difficult.
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