Jim Stader has seen the lunch lines at his local senior center get longer.
To him, the lines are proof that the Lucas County senior citizens replacement levy on Tuesday's ballot is needed.
"I think there's more people who need more help now than at any time," said Mr. Stader, 71, a patron and board member at Senior Centers Inc. in Toledo's Uptown district. "Some of the people go down there and get a free lunch, and if it wasn't for the levy, quite frankly some of them wouldn't eat more than once a day and that's the honest truth."
The 0.45-mill replacement levy on the ballot is for five years and would raise $3,870,000 annually, costing the owner of a $100,000 house $13.78 a year. The existing levy, which expires in December, raises $2,901,000 annually; the new levy would raise more because of increased property values since the current levy's passage in 1999.
Supporters of the levy said the long lines Mr. Stader has seen are just one indication of growing demand for senior services funded by the levy. In 2000, 21,500 senior citizens in Lucas County were registered for programs funded by the levy. This year, 30,500 seniors are registered, a 42 percent increase that is expected to continue to grow in coming years as the nation's baby boomer generation gets older.
Programs funded by the levy include home-care services that allow seniors to stay in their own home, lunch and other nutrition services, and the county's 13 senior centers. The centers offer a variety of services, including educational classes, transportation for seniors, and social activities.