United Senior Services asks for $1.4 million levy on November ballot

The measure would renew funds received from the 2018 election.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Leaders of United Senior Services in Clark County are seeking to place a levy renewal on the November ballot to support programs it provides to older adults in the community.

Maureen Fagans, chief executive officer of USS, said at the Clark County Commission meeting on Wednesday the organization will ask for the $1.4 million renewal levy to support services like providing meals, in-home care and transportation to older people. Passage would not increase taxes; instead, residents would continue to pay the amount voters last passed in 2018.

The annual cost to a Clark County owner of a $100,000 home would remain $49 if the levy passes on Nov. 7, Fagans said.

USS is eligible to ask for funds for every five years or less, Fagans said. She said the organization has tried to avoid increasing its levies for at least 10 to 15 years.

Fagans said in her work at USS — known to many community members as Elderly United — she has seen an increased demand for the organization’s services as the population ages. She said by 2030, about 39% of people in Clark County will be 55 or older.

Past levies supported between 55 and 60% of the organization’s total budget, Fagans said.

USS works to maintain older adults’ independence and self determination, recognizing their importance to a person’s mental wellbeing, Fagans said. All older adults in Clark County can take advantage of USS services, and in 2021 — the most recent year for which data is available — 20% of the eligible population used USS services, with 10% being in-home services and another 10% being visiting the organization’s physical locations.

The organization holds recreational activities at some of its physical locations, like pickleball, and hosts trips and other events.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Fagans said in 2021 the average cost to “help somebody maintain their independence” was around $3,800 annually.

“The economic value of what we provide is just huge,” Fagans told the commission.

Older adults can take advantage of Medicaid and Medicare programs, but USS provides services beyond those, including installing grab bars in a person’s home to ensure they can get around safely.

“I have never had an older person tell me, ‘I can’t wait ‘til I move into the nursing home,’” Fagans said. “I mean, no one has ever said that to me. They’ve always said, ‘Please help me stay in my house; I want my house. What do I need to do to make my house safe?’”

USS partners with several others, like Adult Protective Services and the Clark County Combined Health District. It has centers in downtown Springfield, Tubman Towers in Springfield, plus New Carlisle and Enon, Fagans said.

Commissioner Sasha Rittenhouse said during the regular meeting that USS does a great job of helping and protecting older adults in the area.

“You guys have to handle some complicated cases and some very sad and kind of tug on your heartstrings situations, and you have a great team who is dedicated to making sure people are getting care, they’re getting meals, they’re getting the resources that they need to help them,” Rittenhouse said.

By the numbers:

35: Percent of the population that will be 55 or older by 2025 in Clark County.

$1.4 million: How much the levy generates for support services for older adults provided by United Senior Services.

$49: How much a person with a home valued at $100,000 would continue to pay annually for the levy.

About the Author