The Champaign County Senior Citizens Center will ask residents to approve a new property tax this fall to provide additional programs, including more free meals for seniors and other services.
If approved the new five-year, 0.4-mill levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $14 a year, according to Karen Bailey, Champaign County auditor.
The seniors center currently receives much of its revenue from a 0.2-mill property tax that was approved in 1980. It costs the owner of $100,000 home about $4 a year.
The organization has been operating on those same funds with no increase since then, said Stacy Barnhart, director of the senior center. If voters approve the new levy, she said the current 0.2-mill levy wouldn’t be collected.
Overall, she said she believes most residents understand what services the agency provides, including serving as a place where elderly residents can gather to exercise, socialize and get a meal.
The organization has about 400 current members, who can join beginning at 55 years old. There is an annual membership cost of $20. The agency has added about 100 new members in recent months, and the levy would pay to serve more residents.
“I just feel this is one of those things people understand and support,” Barnhart said.
The organization received about $180,000 from the current levy, but that amount would increase to about $295,000 a year if the new 0.4-mill levy is approved in November. Most of the additional revenue would be used to provide additional programming, Barnhart said.
Among its programs, the agency provides a homemaking service to seniors to help them remain in their homes longer. That service also receives some money from the United Way of Clark, Champaign and Madison Counties.
It also offers dance and art classes for seniors, as well as a food pantry once a month and a free meal for seniors once a week on Tuesdays. The agency can serve 80 people at that meal but is at capacity, Barnhart said.
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