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Published: 6/13/2013 - Updated: 10 months ago

Nov. ballot likely to include disability levy

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Corrected version: Changed the amount of tax to be paid by a homeowner.

Lucas County voters are likely to see a levy request on the November ballot from the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

The board Thursday received a unanimous recommendation from the Lucas County Citizens Levy Review Committee to place a tax issue before voters.

The agency wants to roll two continuous levies of 0.3 and 0.5 mills — passed in 1958 and 1973 respectively — into one and add 1 mill in a replacement levy totaling 1.8 mills. The millage, if approved, would be continuous. The issue would appear on the ballot in a single proposal.

John Trunk, superintendent of developmental disabilities, said the two replacement issues would generate about $3.5 million a year and the 1-mill request would provide nearly $6.8 million annually in additional tax revenue.

Mr. Trunk said demand for services and programs continues to increase but revenue from property taxes and state assistance has fallen to what the agency received in 2008, the last year it went to voters with a levy request. “We continue to serve more and more people, including individuals with autism who are entering the developmental disability system at a record-breaking rate,” he said. “We can no longer adjust programs, services, and personnel and still address the need without additional financial resources.”

The new millage and replacement request would mean the owner of a $100,000 home would pay $179 a year, or $48 more than now. Mr. Trunk did not know the current cost to the same homeowner in property taxes on the 0.3 and 0.5 mill levies.

Mr. Trunk said the agency had increased its match for the federal Medicaid program to bring in more money and had trimmed personnel and operations to save money.

Thomas Susor, a committee member, said the decrease in state funds to the agency is among the reasons the board deserves the chance to ask voters for the millage. “This is one of our neediest communities,” he said.

The committee’s recommendation to place the issue on the ballot will go to the county commissioners for review.

Contact Mark Reiter at: markreiter@theblade.com or 419-724-6199.



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