JACKSON — The taxpayers of Jackson County will need to decide through voting, if they want to support the Jackson County Board on Aging’s dream of building a new senior citizens center in Jackson, plus improving the existing centers in Oak Hill and Wellston.

The levy, which will appear on the ballot on May 4, 2021, during a primary/special election, will be an additional tax for the benefit of Jackson County for capital improvements for designing and building the new Jackson County Senior Citizens Center and for capital improvements to the existing senior citizen centers in Wellston and Oak Hill.

The levy will be at a rate not exceeding 0.5 mill for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to $0.05 for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for 5 years, commencing in 2022, first due in the calendar year 2023.

The new levy, according to the Jackson County Auditor’s Office, would cost a $100,000 homeowner an estimated $17.50 per year. It would produce approximately $337,724.95 annually. Over the course of the 5 year period, the levy would raise $1,688,624.75.

The Board explained that the levy funding would help them secured a loan from the government (USDA) to build the new center. The goal is to build a 12,000 square foot, multi-purpose building to assist senior citizens in Jackson County.

The new building would still be located in the City of Jackson. It would be built 200 feet off of Acy Avenue, across from the Red Roof Inn. The building of the structure would be overseen by Granger Construction, however, local contractors would be used for the project.

The project, which has been in the planning phase for some time now, is to the point where funding is needed. The price tag currently on the project is anywhere from 2.5 to 3 million dollars.

The Board on Aging, a non-profit organization, offers three types of services for senior citizens of Jackson County. Those services are transportation, congregate meals (on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions) and home delivered meals.

One of the primary functions of the building would include continuing and expanding the home-delivered meal program. The Board needs a state-of-the-art kitchen to prepare the thousands of meals for local seniors that keep growing each year as the population ages.

In 2020, the Board on Aging delivered 40,470 meals to 248 clients and provided transportation to 364 clients for a total of 101,109 miles. They have four vans for delivering meals, and another eight vans for transportation.

The new building would also provide a place for seniors to meet and to socialize, giving opportunities for more activities for them.

The Board on Aging currently operates a total of three senior citizen centers across Jackson County. Those centers are located in Jackson, Oak Hill, and Wellston.

The new center, that the Board wants to build on Acy Avenue, would replace the current center located at 25 Mound Street in Jackson. The center on Mound Street is located in a building that was built in 1950. The Board has said that they have plans to keep the Oak Hill and Wellston centers open.

On another note, many readers have asked The Courier: “Doesn’t the Jackson County Board on Aging already have levies?” The answer is “yes” the Board of Aging does already have two levies in place, but those levies are for other endeavors.

The first of the two levies is for maintaining services (transportation, congregate meals and home delivered meals). It was last passed in November 2017, with collection beginning in 2018 tax year for 5 years to expire in 2022 tax year. According to the Jackson County Auditor’s Office, it is a 0.5 mill levy, and it currently costs a homeowner of a $100,000 value of approximately $14.29 annually. The Board received $281,322.28 from this levy in 2020.

The second levy that the Board has in place, is for permanent improvements and operating expenses. It was last passed by voters in November 2018 with collection beginning in 2019 tax year for 5 years to expire in 2023 tax year. According to the Jackson County Auditor’s Office, it also a 0.5 mill levy, and it currently costs a homeowner of a $100,000 value approximately $14.29 annually. The Board received $280,176.59 from this levy in 2020.

Jackson County Auditor Tiffany Ridgeway told The Courier that even though all three levies are set at 0.5 mills, other factors play a role in the collection revenue. She stated that new levies and replacement levies no longer qualify for the rollbacks reimbursements. Also, the valuation at the time the levy begins impacts the revenue of the levy.

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