April 19, 2014

Medina
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Officials say disabilities board faces cuts without levy

MEDINA — Without passage of a replacement levy on Tuesday’s ballot, the Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities will face “across-the-board and systemic cuts,” Superintendent Greg LaForme said.

When the levy first was approved 17 years ago, the board served about 440 people, he said. Now it serves more than 1,100.

“The levy revenues don’t increase at the same pace as costs do,” he said.

Issue 25 is a 1.9-mill permanent replacement levy. Although the millage is the same as the 1995 levy it would replace, the new tax would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $30 a year, raising the total cost to about $60 annually.

The levy is expected to bring in $8.1 million a year for the board. Collections would begin in 2013.

LaForme said the replacement levy would allow the board to maintain the level of services it provides.

LaForme said the board has cut costs by reducing staff positions by about 11 percent, primarily through attrition, and the staff agreed to no increase in pay for two years.

About 80 percent of the board’s funding comes from local taxes.

The board provides services to individuals with developmental disabilities from birth until death, including job training and placement; transportation; residential support; physical, occupational and speech therapy; autism services; and early intervention.

The board also operates the Medina County Achievement Center and Windfall School, which provide educational programs for children with developmental disabilities.

Contact Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.