Senior advisory council differs from transit board

DEAR EDITOR:

In 2005, a Senior Levy was passed by the Trumbull County taxpayers who trusted that the levy dollars would be expended on the seniors, age 60 and over, for various services. Since 2005, the levy has been renewed twice, 2010 and 2015, overwhelmingly, as the public has trusted the integrity and transparency of the Trumbull County commissioners in spending those levy dollars.

When that levy was initially passed, the commissioners had foresight to maintain the transparency in government by appointing 11 members to an advisory council who would oversee a Request For Proposal (RFP) process annually, whereas interested service organizations would request funding for various types of services such as home-delivered meals, homemaker care, adult daycare, adult protective services, chore and senior community centers. Although the dollars are stretched and do not meet every need, the agencies do their best to service as many seniors as possible with the dollars available. An increase in the levy dollars has not been requested and operations have continued with the same levy dollars as passed in 2005.

The commissioners also had the foresight to hire administration of those funds to assure that the contracted agencies follow proper guidelines to assure the funding is being spent on Trumbull County seniors.

This levy is working. This levy is touching many lives, including those family members who now have assistance for the care of their parents. The task of the volunteer 11-member council, also known as the Senior Services Advisory Council (SSAC), is daunting. Each member has a voice. Each member does his or her part in making these dollars stretch to reach the need. These members advocate for the seniors and protect these funds to assure the public that Trumbull County will spend these funds per the object of the levy — for senior services.

Levy dollars for transportation are not administered the same way. Those dollars are transferred to a transit board, which then contracts with a transportation vendor via its own RFP process. Recent news coverage of the Trumbull County Transit Board’s inability to move forward with its RFP process for public county-wide transportation, along with the in-fighting and arguing among these grown-ups, is concerning. I am hopeful the integrity of this levy is maintained and the Senior Services Advisory Council, along with my administration, will at least do our best to assure that the seniors will continue to have access to their transportation. I personally am grateful and appreciate the current Senior Services Advisory Council’s concerns about the future of transportation for the seniors who they serve.

For all of the good that this levy has provided, the citizens of this county deserve that promised transparency.

DIANE M. SISKOWIC-JURKOVIC

Trumbull County Senior Levy Administrator

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