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Support senior services

On Nov. 2, Belmont County voters have the chance to ensure that important services will remain available to more than a quarter of the county’s population.

Belmont County Senior Services is asking voters to renew a 1-mill levy that would generate more than $2 million annually for five years to help fund the agency and its initiatives. The department serves all residents age 60 and older — that amounts to about 19,000 of the county’s roughly 67,000 residents, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Senior services Director Dwayne Pielech told The Times Leader that the levy funds production and delivery of more than 1,200 home-delivered meals each day, along with food and vegetable distribution programs, seasonal farmers’ market vouchers and operation and management of 10 senior centers in various communities. It also makes it possible for the agency to provide transportation for seniors — up to 200,000 miles per year to medical appointments and more than 10,000 miles annually from seniors’ homes to the senior centers.

“To continue, we need help,” Pielech said, noting that the demand for services continues to grow.

It is important to note that this is not a new levy. The 1-mill measure has been in place for decades and is on the ballot for renewal every five years. Therefore, it won’t cost property owners any more than they already pay in taxes. In fact, the agency allowed another half-mill levy to expire last year, giving taxpayers a bit of a break.

The owner of an average home in the county — valued at about $100,000 — would continue to pay about $50 a year. That’s just $4.17 a month.

We believe Belmont County Senior Services provides a great value — and vital services to a vulnerable portion of the populace — for that small price.

County voters have a long history of supporting senior services through such levies, and we urge them to continue that tradition this year at the polls. We endorse the renewal of this important measure.

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