By Matt Clevenger
For Miami Valley Today
WEST MILTON — For the first time in its 50-year history, the Milton-Union Senior Citizens Center is asking voters to approve a 0.25 mil operating levy that members say is needed in order to keep the center’s doors open.
“They have never done a levy,” activities director Carol Garver said. “This is the very first time we’ve done it. The whole center has run on donations and rental of our building since it started over 50 years ago.”
The operating levy will appear on the ballot as a five-year, 0.25-mil. property tax for senior citizens’ services or facilities. First due in 2020, the levy would generate an estimated $40,000 per year, and cost homeowners approximately $8.75 per $100,000 of property value per year.
“On a $100,000 house, it would cost a homeowner $8.75 per year,” Garver said. “For $200,000 it would be $17.50, and $300,000 would be $26.25.”
The funds are needed for building repairs and maintenance, and to help pay for ongoing activities and programs hosted by the senior center. “It’s just necessary to do it,” Garver said. “We’ve been doing a lot of repairs.”
Until now, the senior center has been funded totally by donations and income generated by the group like rental fees for the center’s banquet hall, which is popular for birthdays, weddings, reunions and other occasions.
“We have to do something,” Garver said. “We’ve been fortunate enough to go this long with just donations.”
The senior center building was built in 1987; before that members met wherever they could. The building’s construction was financed by the senior center’s members.
“They had a unique way of paying for the building,” Garver said. “They borrowed from some of their members, and they set up a schedule of payments and they paid everybody back each month until it was totally paid for.”
The West Milton Village Council recently held a meeting at the senior center, to show their support for the levy’s passage, and it is also supported by several other local governments as well including Potsdam, Laura and Ludlow Falls.
“That means a lot,” Garver said. “I went to all their city council meetings, and was given their blessing.”
In addition to maintenance, funds from the levy would also be used to help pay for events and ongoing programs at the senior center. “It would be nice if we could get it, then we could have more programs here,” Garver said. “It would be nice to be able to have more programs, and just get more activities going.”
Some of the center’s ongoing programs include Euchre tournaments every Friday night, and monthly road trips. Upcoming events include a Halloween costume party starting at 11:30 a.m. Oct.23 and a meet-the-candidates style open house starting at 7 p.m. Oct. 29, featuring candidates for council and the Milton-Union Board of Education
“It would be nice if we could get it, then we could have more programs here,” Garver said of the levy. “It would be nice to be able to have more programs, and just get more activities going.”
“We want to be proactive,” she said. “It’s going to be hard for us to keep our doors open. We’ll do the best we can, but we’re going on a faith venture hoping and praying that it does pass.”