ST. CLAIRSVILLE - It was not the best year for local communities and school districts to try to get levies passed on the ballots.
Numerous measures aimed at generating revenue were shot down last November ... some rather harshly.
That wasn't the case for the .3-mill senior services renewal levy, which despite the tough economic times, garnered more than 71 percent of the vote.
All told, 16,564 residents of Belmont County voted in favor of the renewal levy, 6,740 voted against it.
The .3-mill levy is the smallest of the three operating levies that are currently in use for Belmont Senior Services. And while in the grand scheme of things it doesn't seem like much, a failure of passage of even that levy would have meant disaster for the programs offered by senior services.
''It was just a small levy, but if any of them fail, even that one, it would hurt our ability to provide services for seniors in the area,'' Chrissy Frank, the administrative assistant for Belmont Senior Services said. ''We were very pleased with the support.''
Frank said senior services staff were elated not only with the outcome but in the overall voter turnout, given that some voters tend to stay home in a non-presidential election year.
Another factor likely working the the passing of the levy's favor is that since it was a renewal levy, citizens aren't voting to spend any more of their hard-earned dollars. They are only voting to continue paying their current share.
And that share provides funding for some essential services to the elder residents in the greater Belmont County community. There are three main branches of services that are offered, including: transportation, nutrition and in-home care.
The transportation department assists senior in getting to and from doctors' appointments, the pharmacy and other essential trips.
The nutrition department helps by delivering meals to needy seniors who are unable to cook for themselves and don't have the familial resources available to assist with their meals.
On the same taken, in-home care assists residents with normal standards of health and hygiene as well as basic cleaning, shopping and laundry services for those in need. Senior services also provides the food for the meals served at the local senior centers throughout Belmont County and the money generated by the levy can also be used to assist the senior center's themselves for operating expenses.
The renewal of the 1-mill levy will be on the ballot next year and Frank and her coworkers are hoping the residents of Belmont County again see fit to allow Belmont Senior Services to continue the good work they do for the elderly community.
Hughes may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org