Franklin Twp. places senior services renewal levy on November ballot

Franklin Twp. voters will see a ballot issue this fall to renew the five-year 0.25-mill township senior services levy that offers vital transportation services for the elderly and disabled.

Township trustees Wednesday approved placing the renewal levy back on the Nov. 2 general election ballot that will not increase taxes.

The levy provides 100% of the funding for transportation to get the elderly and disabled to medical appointments, shopping for groceries and other items, etc. The bus will transport residents as far north as Ohio 725, as far south as Ohio 63, as far east as Ohio 741, and as far west as the township line, according to the township.

In addition, the levy provides $7,500 a month to help operate the Walter & Audrey Deardoff Senior Center where residents can get flu shots, help with their taxes, etc. and of course companionship and activities, according to the township.

According to Tracy Stivers, township administrator, the levy generates about $131,458 a year to provide these services for its elderly residents. She said 47% township’s approximately 31,815 residents are over age 60.

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Stivers said the free bus transportation service recorded 2,851 trips in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. In the first six months of 2021, there were 554 trips. She believes a lot of senior citizens are fearful of going back into their pre-COVID-19 routines. Stivers said 80% of those trips are for medical care and treatment.

She also said there is no overlapping of services between the township’s program and the Warren County Elderly Services Program.

Stivers said she realized during the pandemic of how important the bus drivers were for the township’s disabled and senior citizens.

“We have residents who were secluded from family and caregivers who rely on us to take them to dialysis and chemo every week,” she said. “We were quite literally their lifeline at that time.”

Stivers said, “a lot of riders don’t have family nearby. We see them several times a week when we take them to the doctor or grocery. We’ve become their most stable social connection they have.”

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