The Suburbanite
  • DD board has earned your levy support

  • The issue: Issue 1 on May 7 ballot

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  • The issue: Issue 1 on May 7 ballot
    The Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities is a unique agency. It provides services to hundreds of local residents throughout their lives.
    This responsibility requires a great deal of commitment, expertise and community support. The DD board and its staff provide the first two; the third has been faithfully provided by Stark County voters for many years.
    The Repository editorial board urges voters to continue this collaboration by passing Issue 1, the 3.3-mill, 10-year DD levy, on the May 7 ballot.
    Despite the ballot language, approval of this levy will not cost property owners any more than they are paying now.
    That fact is a testament to the efforts of the board and its staff. The agency has hardly been immune from the belt-tightening in Columbus, having lost revenue of more than $6 million in recent years, even as the number of clients it serves has increased.
    But the DD board has worked to stabilize its revenue situation by contracting for more services from nonprofit and private agencies and by helping more of its adult clients to find jobs in the community rather than in its workshops. Additional efficiencies have saved about $2.5 million.
    This has been the case despite the fact that the agency that served 2,069 individuals in 2001 now serves more than 3,300, including more than 250 children from birth to age 3.
    The DD board’s success in helping individuals and their families to enjoy a higher quality of life is contributing to the life of the community, economically and otherwise. And considering that these successes have occurred while the agency has controlled its spending to accommodate funding cutbacks, it’s a shame that the board’s prudent action regarding the levy has saddled it with what a Rep story accurately called a public relations nightmare.
    When voters see Issue 1 on the ballot, they will see a request for a 1.9-mill “renewal” and an “increase” of 1.4 mills. But Issue 1 would merely replace current 1.9-mill and 1.4-mill levies that will expire at the end of this year and at the end of 2014, respectively.
    The board has passed a resolution to stop collecting the current 1.4-mill levy if Issue 1 passes. Bottom line: Taxpayers will not pay more than they do now, and the board will not collect more than it does now.
    We hope voters will take the time to understand this situation, and will then give the DD board, and the thousands of Stark Countians who depend on it, a vote of confidence on May 7.

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