Senior Fund Ballot Question
Voters Will Determine Fate Of Measure -- On Nov. 6, 2018 Ballot -- To Fund Services For Seniors
Jackson County voters will decide this fall whether or not to approve the creation of a designated fund to help provide crucial services for the county's older citizens. FIfty-five Missouri counties already have senior funds.
All nine Jackson County Legislators sponsored the ordinance placing a senior fund proposal on the Nov. 6, 2018, ballot. They approved the measure this spring, and County Executive Frank White, Jr. then signed it.
Nov. 6 Jackson County Question #1
The official language on the ballot asks voters to check "yes" or "no" regarding the following question:
Shall Jackson County, Missouri, levy a tax of five (5) cents per each one hundred (100) dollars assessed valuation for the purpose of providing services to persons sixty years of age or older?
$5.3 Million In Revenue Projected
If approved, the levy would add less than $10 to the property tax bill for a property assessed at $100,000. But, overall, it would generate about $5.3 million per year that would go toward meeting the needs of Jackson County's aging citizens:
- Health and Wellness
- Community Engagement
- Safety and Confidence at Home
Every dollar raised in Jackson County through the senior fund will stay in Jackson County.
Among the primary goals of any senior fund is to help older people "age in place" -- to remain at home. It's more cost-effective, and the overwhelming majority of older adults would prefer to continue living in their own homes.
An Aging Population
The percentage of Jackson County's population over 65 is on the rise. In 2000, 12% of people living in the county were 65 or older. That number will increase to 18% by 2030.
Census statistics and surveys conducted by the Mid-America Regional Council revealed the struggles of Jackson County's older adults:
- Nutrition - 45% find preparing meals difficult, while one in five is classified as "food insecure." Another 46% have difficulty shopping.
- Transportation - 45% cannot drive, and one in three cannot access public transportation.
Lack of mobility is a key factor in 31% of seniors in the county being isolated as they live alone with limited options for interacting with other people.
- Health - 38% of Jackson County's older adults have a disability, and 40% find walking difficult.
The county's older adults have a higher than average prevalence of falls, Alzheimer's, arthritis, depression and stroke.
- Finances - One in 10 live in poverty. Of those who'd like to continue working, two of three reported that their employment needs are going unmet.
- Home Repairs/Maintenance - 44% need help with home repairs, while a third need help with lawn services and have difficulty doing light housekeeping or laundry.
A Drop In Agency on Aging (AoA) Funding
There are already programs in place to help seniors, but funding from the U.S. Agency on Aging (AoA) that helps support programs like Meals On Wheels has been declining. While the number of Americans 65 or older increased 60% from 1980 to 2010, AoA funding dropped 34%.
55 Missouri Counties Have Senior Funds
If voters approve a senior fund Nov. 6, Jackson County (in green) will join the 55 counties in Missouri that have already created funds to support senior services.
More than 25 years ago, the Missouri State Legislature enabled counties to develop -- with voter approval -- senior citizen services funds.
Platte & Clay Counties' Senior Funds
Jackson County's neighbors north of the Missouri River -- Platte and Clay counties -- both have senior funds. The funds in those two counties provide a whole host of services, ranging from adult day care and in-home care to senior centers and mental health programs.
5 Cents Per $100
If approved, the Jackson County senior fund would cost 5 cents per $100 of accessed value.
That nickel out of every $100 would generate approximately $5.3 million per year county-wide to support senior services.