Tuesday, August 5, 2003

Clermont to consider MRDD levy


Previous efforts voted down

By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BATAVIA - Clermont County commissioners today will decide whether to approve a request from the county's Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities that could place a 0.75-mill levy on the November ballot.

If approved, it will be the third attempt by the MRDD board to get a levy increase by the voters in as many years.

This request comes on the heels of a performance audit conducted earlier this year by the state. The results were released to county officials in mid-July and made public July 25.

The results determined that "despite recent setbacks in its administration, the Clermont MRDD appears programmatically sound."

However, the audit also showed that the agency would carry a deficit of $1.5 million by fiscal year 2005, which by fiscal year 2007 could reach $4.7 million.

It recommended that to offset these projected deficits, the board should seek more local funds by 2004.

The agency, the audit recommended, should also set aside money for a "Budget Stabilization (Rainy Day) Fund," which will help it to weather any changes in revenue or expenditures.

If county commissioners give the go ahead and the measure is approved by the voters it could generate more than $2.7 million annually over the next five years, officials said. The owner of a $100,000 home would pay $22.96 a year.

Lisa Davis, MRDD spokeswoman, said the added funds would help to decrease the agency's waiting list.

About 71 developmentally disabled people in Clermont County are currently not receiving services from the county agency because of a lack of funds. Another 104, who do receive some form of county service, occupy a separate waiting list for placement in an apartment or a group home.

County commissioners requested the audit in February because of the agency's organizational troubles.

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E-mail mmccain@enquirer.com




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