By Matt Clevenger
For Miami Valley Today
LAURA — A crowd of 20-30 members from the Milton-Union Senior Citizens Center gathered at the Union Township Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, July 8, showing support for a much-needed .25-mil tax levy that would help fund the financially-struggling senior center.
“It’s just becoming too hard,” the senior center’s activities director Carol Garver said. “So we are asking the trustees to put a .25-mil levy on the November ballot for us, which would cost the average homeowner $8.75 for a $100,000 home.”
“We want to go as low as we can,” she said of the levy amount. “We don’t want to gouge people, just to keep the doors open and introduce some new programs.”
Trustees approved the levy, which will now appear on the ballot during the upcoming election this November. In the meantime, trustees will still have a chance to examine the levy’s final ballot wording and vote on it again.
Located at 435 W. Hamilton St., West Milton, the senior center’s building dates back to the late 1980s, and requires regular maintenance and repairs.
“The main building was put up in 1987, and then the lounge we built in 1990,” Garver said. “The land that our building is on belongs to the Union Township Trustees. We pay $1 per year rent to have our building on that property.”
“We don’t get any financial help from anybody, other than donations and the rental of our building,” she said. “They’ve been operating like that since 1987.”
“I hope it passes,” trustee and board vice-president Phil Mote said. “It’s an asset to the community; I think everybody feels that way.”
In other business, the board also voted to approve the township’s annual budget, and approved a motion to begin removing special dumpsters that have been available in several locations for tornado clean-up.
“We’re probably at the point where we should pull the dumpsters,” fiscal officer Marjorie Coate said, noting that the debris containers have cost approximately $7,600 over the course of three weeks.
“The dumpsters can’t be used for anything other than debris, and then the initial clean-up of stuff from the tornados,” Coate said. “But once you start to pull the stuff off the property for rebuilding it, we’re not allowed to pay for that.”
Trustees also answered questions about the township’s chances of getting reimbursed for clean-up costs by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). “We don’t qualify,” trustee and board president Dennis Albaugh said. “We didn’t spend enough money to meet the parameters for FEMA. As a county, they had to spend $380,000 on clean-up efforts, and we were nowhere near that in our expenses.”
“We were devastated,” he said. “A lot of families were hurt really bad, and we really got hammered. Thanks again to all the community for pitching in; that helped us a lot.”
“Individually, home owners can get money back from FEMA so they should finish the paperwork,” Coate said. “Even though it says denied on the top of the report, you still should finish it all the way out because a lot of times there’s still money available.”
“We can’t get it,” she said of the township. “But people should know that I think we’re up to like 93 who have turned theirs in for the home; it was 19. There are around 200 people who could do that, and they need to do it. If you know anybody encourage them, so they can get that money back later.”