COA requests millage renewal proposal

Published 4:46 pm Monday, March 21, 2016

The Cass County COA may soon be asking for the community’s assistance to help it continue to deliver services and programming for the county’s population of seniors.

COA CEO Bob Cochrane gave a brief presentation to the Cass County Board of Commissioners during its last meeting Thursday, where he requested that the board consider placing a proposal on the ballot of August’s primary election that would ask voters for a slight increase to the COA’s millage rate on county households.

The COA Board of Directors had passed a resolution requesting the proposal during its last meeting, Cochrane said.

While the language of the proposal has yet to be created, COA leadership is wanting approval from voters to increase the current millage rate from the .9036 mills to 1 mill, the highest allowed under state law for senior services agencies.

According to Cochrane, funds accessed through the millage are a critical part of the COA’s operations, accounting for 60 percent of its operating budget. The COA Board decided to pursue increasing the millage rate in light of the rising cost of food, energy costs and supplies needed to run the organization, while revenue from the current millage rate remains fairly stagnant, Cochrane said.

“With increasing expenses and not-so-much increasing revenue, it’s really putting a squeeze on the budget at the COA, making it more difficult for us to provide the services we want to provide,” Cochrane said.

The proposed increase to the millage rate would have minimal effects on the bottom line for county taxpayers, Cochrane said. For instance, the homeowner with a home accessed value of $50,000 would pay an additional 40 cents a month, or less than $5 a month, the CEO said.

“It’s a very small increase for the individual homeowner, but the accumulated value of that would have a very big impact in our ability to continue to present the things we would like to do,” Cochrane said.