McLean County Times

McLean County Times

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Livingston County voters set to decide on tax increase for senior home health programs

Local Government

By Sarah Downey | Mar 5, 2020

Livingston County residents will vote March 17 on two referendum questions about community healthcare. | Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Livingston County residents are preparing to vote March 17 on two referendum questions about community healthcare.

Residents will decide whether to provide the county a tax increase to benefit programs for seniors. A statement from Livingston County, posted on the WCSJ website, notes the tax would amount to $7.50 a year for the owner of a home valued at $100,000 and provide $185,000 for the programs.

Although voters passed similar measures in recent years, the tax was not implemented due to a discrepancy in the legal language.

Should the referenda pass this time, the county would begin the funding in December.

The in-home assistance program began in 2009 after the county closed its nursing home. County board members voted to end it in 2018 because it was meant to be temporary.

As more residents have sought such services, board members decided to put the question before voters.

County Health Department Administrator Jackie Dever told the Pantagraph that the Community Healthcare Program was to help local residents over 60 who demonstrated, after an in-home assessment, either a medical or social need to stay in their home, but who could not qualify for state assistance because their income was deemed too high. Most of the services provided to these clients were in-home blood draws, medication management, blood pressure checks, as well as help with housekeeping tasks, like laundry and meals, and hygiene like bathing.  

The most recent Census figures, from 2010, show more than 15 percent of Livingston County residents are over age 65.

County board member Kathy Arbogast told the Pantagraph that she voted to put the March referenda before voters, and that she voted for them when casting her ballot a few weeks ago.

"The people who have lived in our county for so long — who have paid their taxes — it would be good of us to help them," Arbogast said.

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