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Oregon levy would beef up senior services


Katie Vaughan of Toledo, left, Eunice Block, and Sue Jones, both of Oregon, play bingo at the James ‘Wes’ Hancock Senior Center on Bayshore Road. About 285 seniors use the facility each week.

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Educational instruction, legal assistance, and health and fitness classes are some of the additional services that could be offered to Oregon seniors if voters approve a levy request on the Nov. 5 ballot, supporters of the new tax say.

These would be in addition to the services the Oregon center offers, such as lunches Monday through Friday, health screenings, bingo and euchre, and rides to and from medical appointments and shopping, Bob Marquette, the center’s board chairman, told Oregon City Council last week. He spoke on behalf of the pro-levy group Oregon Citizens Supporting Senior Services.

The levy was needed to provide more services and “enhance the quality of life of seniors,” he said, stressing that the new tax money would be used only for services at the senior center and other sites.

Passage of the levy would mean a reliable, dedicated revenue stream for senior services that could be provided across Oregon, including at the municipal complex, Mr. Marquette said later. “This money would not be tied to the senior center,” he said.

Council voted 7-0 to place the five-year, 0.5-mill tax on the Nov. 5 ballot, but Mayor Mike Seferian warned that persuading voters to support the new tax would be challenging. The levy would generate $200,000 annually. The cost to the owner of a $100,000 home would be $17.50 annually, according to the Lucas County Auditor’s Office.

The James “Wes” Hancock Senior Center is at 5760 Bayshore Rd. in a rent-free, city-owned building that used to be a sewer plant lift station. Its staff has one full-time employee, the director, and a part-time secretary, dietary aide, and maintenance worker.

Center officials have a wish list of positions they want to create, including a full-time administrative assistant, program coordinator, and maintenance person, and part-time coordinators for events and volunteers. Other part-time staffers it could use are two drivers, computer services and data-entry specialists, and a rental hostess.

The center’s 2012 budget was $106,000, Mr. Marquette said, with about $34,500 of that from the city. The Area Office on Aging, its largest funding source, accounted for $63,000 in 2012, a reduction of $16,000 from the previous year.

The senior center has 400 members who pay annual dues of $35. It also holds fund-raisers, such as the Hawaiian pig roast set for Friday. About 285 seniors use the facility each week.

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