WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Additional funding for senior centers proved to be a hot topic at Wednesday’s Sedgwick County public budget meeting. Now, one commissioner says certain centers are on the brink of closing due to inadequate funding.
District 5 Commissioner Jim Howell says this situation goes back to a ballot question from 1982 that allowed the county to levy a property tax for senior services not to exceed one mill, which is, essentially, a cap of $5.7 million per year. But since 1984, the county started reducing the mill, and by 2015, that levy froze.
Howell says accounting for inflation, the mill levy is now at an all-time low of .37, meaning several centers may close in 2023.
“Senior centers like La Familia, for example, they might not survive this year,” Howell said. “Oaklawn is very, is struggling very, very much trying to find a way to make things work. We all have to tighten our belt in this economy, and senior centers have had to tighten their belt, but even more than we have.”
Howell says he is working to bring the issue back on the ballot to increase the minimum levy.