[SeMissourian.com] Fair ~ 68°F  
High: 88°F ~ Low: 70°F
Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

Voters to consider increasing support services for senior citizens

Friday, August 1, 2008

Tuesday is an important date for the citizens of Missouri; it is the date to go to the polls to vote. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to vote and it is also a responsibility. We live in a democracy and the way to keep this type of government, eligible voters need to vote.

Through the history of this country and still today, there are many who have made sacrifices so that we can have the opportunity to vote. It is a shame to our country that a large number of eligible voters do not register and also that a large portion of those registered do not vote. In many ways, it is sad.

The primary will be held Tuesday. In addition, the voters of Vernon County will have a decision to make with regard to investing in senior citizens and providing more services to the seniors. Vernon County has a high rate of those 60 years of age and older. As the baby boomers become senior citizens, these numbers become higher.

An article featured on the front page of Friday's edition of the Nevada Daily Mail, "New tax proposed for local Senior Center," gave an explanation of the proposal. Also, there has been at least one ad that gave explanation and there will be more ads.

As was pointed out in Friday's issue, the ballot issue is simply worded: "Shall Vernon County levy a tax of five cents per each one hundred dollars assessed valuation for the purpose of providing services to persons sixty years of age or older?" This is the question proposed to you for an answer.

At the time, it seemed that Aug. 5 was far in the future, but now looking back, it has not been long since Earl Ackley, Vernon County Senior Center coordinator told me about the proposed for a Senior Services Fund for the county. He was talking about going to the commissioners and asking them to put the proposal on the ballot. My thoughts were that it could be tried. Still, I realized how difficult it is to pass any tax. There are many who will vote against a tax, no matter how good it might be. Many of us are reluctant to pay any more taxes and do not want to. It would be worth the try, but might not succeed.

Earl approached the commissioners and they did the right thing and put the proposal on the ballot, because it is the right thing to do to let the voters decide.

It may be too little, too late. The base for getting the information out has not been there, and many people are not aware of the purpose for the tax and why it is needed.

Having watched other issues such as the law enforcement tax which will provide a new jail passed, it took a lot of work and a large effort to inform people. Of course, that issue was a much bigger issue than this one which is estimated to provide $107,000 per year.

Recently, a community activist was visiting with me and raising questions about why this proposal was needed. This is a person that is active in the county and gets behind many good endeavors that are needed. After visiting with me, he has educated himself on the issue and has a better understanding and realizes that it is needed. He is now giving leadership toward raising funds for Citizens for Senior Citizen's Service Fund and in promoting the passage of this issue. He recognizes that Earl and Sylvia Ackley are giving good leadership to the senior center and that the programs provided are doing good things for the seniors.

If the proposal is passed there will be a seven member board appointed by the county commissioners, who will administer the Senior Services Fund. Sylvia pointed out that these funds are not just for the senior center, but for the seniors of Vernon County. Other not-for-profit corporations could also apply for the funds.

The cost for services and the number of seniors requesting assistance continue to increase and that increase will be extended into the future. Some seniors need support with meals and visitations if they are to remain in their homes. There are many services that the center provides -- more than just serving and delivering meals.

Meals are served from the senior center throughout the county. Many of the homebound see no one else during the day. Delivery volunteers have found the clients lying on the floor and would not have been found for a period of time except for the volunteers.

Many are aware of the many things that the senior center accomplishes and realize the need for additional service to more citizens. Several citizens realize the good accomplishments of the staff and that Earl has the ability to keep the cost of food down.

Sylvia pointed out that the CAP funds will be coming to an end and that will effect the services offered by the center. In discussing the proposed tax and the funds that it will bring in, she said that the seniors need them. She along with others views the passage of the tax as being important.

Based on the information that has been provided, it will take only pennies a day to help with the health, nutrition and quality of life for Vernon County seniors.

More information is available at the Vernon County Senior Center, 301 N. Main, Nevada.

Leonard Ernsbarger
Leonard At Large