Senior citizens voice concerns about levy over coffee

Brianne Carlon

Senior citizens are still split when it comes to supporting the senior levy that will be on the May ballot.

About 30 seniors showed up yesterday to hear Commissioner Chuck Keiper’s best efforts to gain their support, but many were skeptical of the plans.

“Half of the seniors think it is a good thing, and half don’t want to pay the property tax,” Keiper said. But 100 percent would say they want to stay in their homes for as long as possible, he added.

Pat Fowler of Ravenna asked how much of the levy money, if passed, would be going to the senior center.

Keiper said about $250,000 per year would go toward the operation of the senior center.

However, Fowler said she does not think it will ever happen.

“We don’t believe a thing they tell us,” she said.

Fowler even said she does not want a new senior center.

“I love this place – if they would give us our room back,” she said referring to the large area of the center that is now being used to store voting machines.

Sally Kelly, director or senior services, said the seniors’ activity space is now about a third of what it used to be, currently at about 14 feet wide by 44 feet long.

“What the seniors miss the most is being able to play chair-volleyball,” she said. “The area is not wide enough and there is a pole in the middle.”

Keiper promised that a new center would serve more seniors and offer more activities, such as sewing and carpentry.

Another concern of Fowler’s was how to get senior citizens registered to vote who are not already.

Chuck Langer of Rootstown asked for “cheat sheets” of information about the levy to be made up for seniors so they could talk to people in the community about the benefits of the levy passing.

Helen Whitted of Rootstown said she is concerned about those who are not rich or poor.

“You have to use all your money before you get help,” she said about people who have worked all their life and saved some money.

Along with answering questions, Keiper explained the divisions of the levy money and pointed out benefits for citizens over the age of 60 if the levy passes.

“This levy is about the community standing up and saying, ‘We value old people as resources. We value people as much at the end of their lives as we do at the beginning of their lives, and we are willing to put our money where our mouth is,'” Keiper said.

Contact public affairs reporter Brianne Carlon at [email protected].