SENIOR SERVICES LEVY Accord on spending won't precede vote

It has not been determined exactly what services the levies would support.
YOUNGSTOWN -- There is no chance that agreements on how to administer proposed 1-mill senior services levies in Trumbull and Mahoning counties will be finalized before election day, officials say.
The levies, proposed by the District XI Area Agency on Aging, would raise $3.4 million in Trumbull County and $3.8 million in Mahoning County for services for the elderly if approved by voters Tuesday.
When the agency asked county commissioners to put the levies on the ballot, it also proposed that commissioners allow the agency to decide how to spend revenue.
Under a contract proposed by the agency, a committee primarily appointed by agency trustees would be set up in each county to plan how the money would be spent. Money would remain in the county where it was collected, and quarterly reports would be sent to commissioners.
However, the contracts remain unsigned, officials say.
Too late
Mahoning County Commissioner David Ludt said nothing has been resolved and it's gotten too late in the game for officials to pin down an agreement before the election.
"It's not going to happen," Ludt said. "There just isn't time."
When the agreement was proposed weeks ago, Trumbull County commissioners asked for details about what the Agency on Aging's administrative costs would be. Mahoning Commissioner Vicki Sherlock said she was concerned whether commissioners would retain adequate control over the funds.
The levy's ballot language would prevent the money for going toward anything other than services for seniors, said Deanna Clifford, the agency's director of community relations.
"I got a lot of feedback from voters that if the agreements are not signed before the election, they are concerned commissioners are going to use the funds for something else," she said.
Sherlock said that by law, levy revenue can be used only for senior citizen services. She said commissioners still want the Agency on Aging to administer the revenue, but won't agree to that until they are assured that the money will go toward programs that meet the needs of all seniors.
Trumbull Commissioner Dan Polivka said he supports the levies, though there are issues that need to be clarified.
The agency has not determined what services would be provided if the levies pass.