OCCOA seeks millage to continue operating.

July 31, 2018

The OCCOA facility at 621 E. Main St.  in Hart.

OCCOA seeks millage to continue operating.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.


HART — Oceana County voters are being asked to approve a millage during the primary election Tuesday, Aug. 7, so that the Oceana County Council on Aging (OCCOA) can continue operations.

It is a six-year millage of 1 mill through 2023.

“Without the operating millage, OCCOA would be forced to close all programs and services and would cease to exist,” states OCCOA millage literature. “The needs of many frail and vulnerable adults would go unmet, and the burden and stress on families/caregivers would increase.”

OCCOA has been in existence for 46 years.

In 2017, the non-profit organization provided 13,550 meals; nearly 95,000 hours for in-home care; over 4,000 hours for adult day care; nearly 14,000 bus rides; nearly 1,100 out-of-county volunteer rides; and provided fitness, social and educational events for 850 seniors.

“We have hundreds of senior citizens who come to the Oceana County Council on Aging, and hundreds more that receive services ‘behind the scenes’ from the various needs provided,” said Robin Rash, secretary for the Friends of OCCOA Campaign Committee.

OCCOA has received an operating millage since 1992 to provide services for seniors such as transportation, in-home care, adult day care services, and congregrate meals and socialization. Millage funds cover 60 percent of the operating costs for these services.

The last operating millage of .75 mill approved in 2010 will end in December of this year. A special millage that passed in 2016 to build a new center on Tyler Road near 72nd Avenue was for two years in 2018 and 2019. The millage request Aug. 7 is entirely separate from the special millage that passed in 2016 for the new center, because it is for operational expenses only.

“The operating millage provides funding for services that support the safety, dignity, independence and wellbeing of Oceana County residents 60 years of age and older,” states the OCCOA millage literature.

OCCOA offers many programs for local seniors, such as congregate meals. Holidays take on a festive flair.

“Millages provide the citizens of the county with the ability to select and specifically fund those services they desire — to meet the needs over and above what is available from federal, state and local dollars. In 73 of Michigan’s 83 counties, county-wide millage funds for senior services have supplemented the dwindling federal and state dollars. The taxes bring in much-needed dollars that help senior citizens stay in their homes with support services provided and access to health care and legal help to remain independent.”

OOCOA services provide bus transportation within the county and out of the county for medical appointments; home care services such as homemaking, personal and respite care; case coordination and support; emergency response systems; Medicare and Medicaid assistance counseling; adult day care services; congregate meals; health and wellness programs; medical equipment loans; tax credit assistance; advocacy; information and referrals; recreation; social and education programs, such as computer classes; and fitness classes and health clinics.

The cost of 1 mill is $1 of $1,000 of taxable property value. If your home has a taxable value of $50,000, the estimated cost would be $50 per year.

“You may not currently need services, but you may have family member, friend or neighbor who does — or will soon need services to stay at home, or programs for socialization to avoid isolation, loneliness and/or depression. Everyone ages, and even though you may not need these services now, there is always the future.”

This story is copyrighted © 2018, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

Local seniors enjoy a holiday meal hosted by OCCOA.



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