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On August 7, the Menominee-Delta-Schoolcraft Community Action Agency is asking voters in Menominee and Delta counties to continue property tax millage proposals for its Senior Services program. The support dates back 30 years, and voters are asked to continue the support every 10 years.
In Menominee County, voters will be asked to continue a .6 mill property tax levy for Senior Services, bringing in just under $470,000. In Delta County, the .8 mill property tax will bring in approximately $930,000. In the past the Delta County proposal was for .6 of a mill, and this millage would replace that millage.
“We have earned support from residents, who understand that, due to our senor centers, home-delivered meals and in-home services, the quality of life for our senior citizens would be a shadow of itself if it wasn’t for these services,” said CAA Executive Director Julie Moberg.
The agency operates three senior centers in Menominee and four centers in Delta along with three satellite sites.
The centers provide weekday lunches, social activities, exercise, entertainment and educational opportunities. Senior citizens also go to the senior centers for Medicare/ Medicaid assistance, commodity food distributions (serving 1,800 residents a year), tax form assistance and heat assistance.
Last year the centers served more than 43,000 meals at its centers in the two counties.
The centers are also there for people who aren’t able to go to the sites. One of Senior Services most important offerings is home-delivered meals, Moberg said.
“Our meal drivers not only provide nutrition to seniors, but also visit with these residents and check on their well-being while providing a ‘hello’ and a smile,” Moberg said.
Last year the centers served more than 110,000 home-delivered meals through its centers in the two counties.
Meals both served at the centers and delivered to seniors in their homes are high quality and nutritionally-balanced, Moberg said. Cost to make the meals is $7 a piece, but seniors are only asked to donate what they can, with most giving $3. “If it wasn’t for the millage, both center and home-delivered meals would be greatly affected,” Moberg said. For example, all home meal routes are funded totally by millage.
Another big component of Senior Services in the two counties is in-home services, which provides caregiver respite, bathing, dressing, hair care, walking, medicine reminders, light housekeeping and help with range of motion.
Last year in-home services in the two counties served more than 450 clients with approximately 37,000 hours of services. Since the last millage proposal, demand for in-home services has increased and state reimbursement has not kept up, said Senior Services Director Sally Kidd.
“Thanks to voter support, senior citizens are able to stay in their homes much longer. Since 1980 voters have shown that they understand and are here to help,” Kidd said.
One strength of Senior Services is it’s locally-based, and is able to determine local needs and answer those needs, Moberg said.
In Menominee County, the program provides transportation services to people of all ages. In Delta County, it operates Adult Day Services, a day-care for people with dementia, including Alzheimer’s, and their caregivers.
Adult Day Services in Escanaba provided more than 8,000 hours of respite care last year. “State funding was eliminated many years ago for this service. We feel fortunate this millage provides funding to help people and their families struggling with this disease,” said Kidd.
Last year the Menominee County Transportation Services provided almost 7,500 rides in the county for shopping, medical appointment and social activities.
Moberg said the cost for homeowners is minimal and the benefit is vast. In Menominee County, a person who owns a home worth $100,000 will pay 58 cents a week. In Delta, it’s 77 cents a week.
“We feel honored to serve this very important age group. I hate to think about the terrible decisions we as communities would face if we didn’t receive voter support,” Moberg said.
CAA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.