Bob Marquette, president of the James “Wes” Hancock Senior Center in Oregon, and senior center advocates have a vision of where they would like to be someday, and passage of a 0.5-mill, five year operating levy on the Nov. 5 ballot is just one step in getting there.
A pamphlet from Oregon Citizens Supporting Senior Services (OCSSS), which is promoting the levy, lists 10 needed positions, but Marquette stresses that passage of the levy, Issue 7 on the ballot, does not mean there would be 10 new employees.
If passed, the levy would fund only the expansion of services, said Marquette, who also chairs the OCSSS.
The “wish list” includes hiring a full-time program coordinator, part-time event coordinator, part-time volunteer coordinator, part-time computer services position, part-time data entry position, a part-time rental hostess, and making the part-time maintenance worker full-time.
“They are not even needed positions. That was from a hypothetical question of ‘What if you could have everything that you wanted to have.’ Sure, we have a wish list,” Marquette said. “We have a wish list for a new building. We’d like to have all these different positions where we could serve the seniors better.
The Sylvania senior center has everything on Marquette’s wish list.
“They have a half-million dollar levy, plus what they get from the city, the township, and everybody else. They are dealing with millions of dollars and we are not even close to that,” he said.
Marquette emphasized that the levy would not go toward building a new senior center.
Revenue from the proposed levy would be used to fund services only and not a new or expanded building, according to Marquette.
“The levy is absolutely needed to fund the continuance and expansion of needed services that are vital to our senior residents. These services make it possible for many of our seniors to stay active and independent in our city. Without the services offered by the Oregon senior center, many of these residents would be forced to go to assisted living housing and not enjoy the freedom that they have with the available services,” he said.
Marquette said the levy revenue would enhance and expand the type and number of services offered by the center. Some of these services could include, but are not be limited to, confidential consultation with social workers, legal outreach consultants, educational assistance programs for formal GED/post GED classes, personal interest classes in advanced education, assistance with new medical coverage plans (such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, nicknamed “Obama Care”), Medicare/Medicaid, new retiree’s assistance for pension, social security coverage, and medical coverage.
Transportation is provided to and from the center for medical appointments, errands, shopping, and banking.
“The passing of the senior levy will maintain financial stability for services rendered to the senior population,” Marquette said. “The life expectancy of our senior population continues to lengthen and so do their needs. The mission of the OCSSS is to develop an environment that affirms and assists in maintaining a senior’s dignity, self-worth, independence, and continued active participation in the community.