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Funding for senior services in Kalamazoo County is on the August 6th ballot

A sheet of stickers with a rippling American flag and the phrase "I Voted" next to the flag in a medium-dark blue
Matt Rourke/AP
"I Voted" stickers at a polling place in Newtown, Pa., Tuesday, April 23, 2024

A millage renewal, if passed, is expected to generate over $3 million a year to support those over 60 and their caregivers.

Kalamazoo County voters will decide in August whether to renew the "senior millage" that helps pay for services for older adults.

The senior millage provides funding to support those over 60 and their caregivers. Kalamazoo County’s Older Adult Services Division states it supports 45 services including home meals, transportation, respite services and adult daycare.

Judy Sivak is the chair of the Say Yes to Seniors campaign, a group advocating for renewal. She said that before the millage, “there were long waiting lists for people needing a home delivered meal and help in their home in particular. Like with a bath or with house cleaning.

"We just didn’t have the funds or really the people either to provide a lot of those services and that has changed since 2018," she said.

Sivak added that the millage allows some seniors to remain in their homes longer. Portage resident Cindy Raymon, who is caring for her husband after a stroke, agreed.

“It means the world to me to be able to have him home. And knowing that I’m caring for him in the best way with all these resources to stand behind me it has made a huge difference. If I didn’t have it, I’d hate to say he probably wouldn’t be able to stay home.”

The proposed renewal rate is 0.3462 mills. The tax would cost a homeowner whose house is worth $200,000 on the market — that is, a house with a taxable value of $100,000 — about $35 a year.

In February, Kalamazoo County commissioners voted unanimously to put the renewal on the ballot.