By Robert A. Steadman

Great news! The City Commission has voted to support a county millage election for the new senior center.

Senior Center Friends urges the county to support the millage and schedule a millage election on Aug. 4.

Successful millage elections will build the new center and dramatically expand the center’s satellite operations in Acme, Fife Lake, Kingsley and Interlochen. The “One and Done” millage of one mill for one year will pay for the new center and the millage of .2 mill, going into effect in 2022, will fund operation of the senior center’s programs and expansion of those vibrant, county-wide satellite operations.

A prime example of senior center programs is the individual, continuing telephone contact with seniors stuck in their homes by the danger posed to them by the coronavirus. The center is making sure each senior has support in obtaining food, maintaining their medications, sharing information and just having someone to talk with.

It has been asked:

  • 1. Can the county pay for a building on city property?
  • 2. Can the city and county share financial responsibility?
  • 3. Does the existing agreement between the city and county need to be renewed before the millage’s election?

The law (MCL 400.571) authorizes a legislative body (specifically the county) to appropriate funds to a public non-profit organization for the purpose of providing services to older persons 60 years or older.

The law states: “It is a valid public purpose to provide services to older persons.”

MCL 124.531 states: “Any two or more political subdivisions are authorized to enter into a contract with each other providing for the transfer of functions or responsibilities to one another or any combination thereof upon the consent of each political subdivision involved.” Regarding the joint agreement, the parties agreed a year ago that finishing it would be after final costs for construction have been determined.

Fortunately, two members of the county commission have special knowledge regarding senior needs.

Commissioner Ron Clous has ownership interest in Water’s Edge Assisted Living and Northern Star Assisted Living and Commissioner Brad Jewett has ownership interest in Culver Meadows Assisted Living. Their specialized knowledge will be tremendously valuable regarding the millage necessary to build our new Senior Center and substantially expand our senior center’s satellite operations.

About the author: Robert A. Steadman is president of the Senior Center Friends. He lives in Traverse City.

About the author: Robert A. Steadman is president of the Senior Center Friends. He lives in Traverse City.

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