Monday, June 24, 2002

Clermont MRDD to request 1.5-mill levy



By Lew Moores, lmoores@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BATAVIA — Clermont County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities will ask county commissioners Wednesday to put a five-year, 1.5-mill levy for operating expenses on the November ballot.

        The new levy would replace a 0.75-mill levy that expired at the end of last year. If approved by county voters, it would generate about $4.8 million a year.

        Clermont MRDD serves about 1,300 people.

        “We have increased needs,” said Libby Feck, MRDD director of administrative operations. “The program is growing. We went for the levy last year and it went down. We need to replace that.”

        The MRDD board's 1.88-mill levy last year was defeated 53 percent to 47 percent, surprising board members and staff.

        Ms. Feck said many of the programs have grown in the past five years. The adult program, for example, was serving about 289 people five years ago; today, it serves 439, with another 60 on the waiting list.

        In its early intervention program — for children up to age 3 — MRDD was serving 93 children five years ago. Today, it serves 188.

        The levy has provided about 64 percent of Clermont MRDD's budget. The remainder comes from state and federal funds.

        If the new levy is approved in November, it would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $46 a year.

        Wanda Downey, president of the MRDD board, said she's optimistic about the levy's chances.

        If it isn't approved, she said, “I'm afraid we'll have to make cuts all through the program.”

        If MRDD doesn't provide some of the services, then taxpayers would have to pick up some of the tab through the services being offered by public schools or through public assistance, Ms. Downey said.

       



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