Vote yes on Prop S to fund senior services

Karen Berry Elbert is manager of St. Louis NORC.

By Karen Berry Elbert

Proposition S will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot in St. Louis, St. Louis County and St. Charles County. If passed, it would levy a tax of 5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation for the purpose of providing services to people age 60 or older. 

Baby boomers are retiring, and more people are living longer than ever before. For example, in St. Louis County, those age 60 and older are projected to make up 27 percent of the population by 2030, compared with 18 percent of the population in 2000. 

The idea behind Proposition S is to have a local resource to support programs and services that allow adults 60 years of age and older to age in place, thus improving their quality of life. 

In Missouri, 19 percent of real property assessed value is taxed. So a taxpayer with a home valued at $100,000 would pay an additional $9.50 annually in property tax. For personal property, 33.33 percent of value is taxed. Therefore, a taxpayer with an automobile valued at $10,000 would pay an additional $1.67 annually in personal property tax. 

Proposition S appears independently on each of the three ballots. If voters approved, each elected body would appoint an independent board, audited annually, that would determine how the funds are spent. Money collected could not be used for any other purpose except those authorized by sections 67.990 to 67.995 of the Revised Missouri Statutes. Funding decisions would be determined by board members and only in accordance with the fund budget approved by the governing body of the county or mayor of the city. 

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Fifty-four of Missouri’s 114 counties and St. Louis city have passed the tax, which funds services dealing with nutrition, transportation, home maintenance and safety, care coordination, behavioral health, dental and vision health and socialization, as well as homemaker and respite services. These funded services cannot supplant existing services.

Grants or contracts would be available for programs, services and organizations that serve residents age 60-plus. Some services would be based on need, but others would serve any senior age 60 and older. 

If Proposition S passed, services could begin in early 2018. 

Some of the organizations that have joined Seniors Count, a community initiative to educate citizens in the St. Louis area about serious gaps in funding and services for residents 60 years of age and older who wish to continue to live independently. Some of the groups answering the growing needs of area seniors are Congregation Shaare Emeth, OASIS, Jewish Family & Children’s Service, St. Louis Alzheimer’s Association, National Council of Jewish Women, St. Louis NORC, Washington University, SSM Health, Memory Care Home Solutions, Visiting Nurses and BJC.

Please join me in voting for Prop. S on Nov. 8. For more information, please visit seniorscountstl.com.