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Published: 11/2/2013 - Updated: 5 months ago

2013 VOTERS GUIDE

Developmental disability board looks for levy boost

Agency serves thousands across Lucas County

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Pastor Cedric Brock of Mount Nebo Baptist Church speaks in support of Issue 2 during a recent news conference at the church. To Pastor Brock’s right is John Trunk, superintendent of of the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities. Pastor Cedric Brock of Mount Nebo Baptist Church speaks in support of Issue 2 during a recent news conference at the church. To Pastor Brock’s right is John Trunk, superintendent of of the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
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The Lucas County Developmental Disabilities Board provides services for thousands of children and adults with developmental disabilities, but agency leaders say they need voter help to pay for the growing demand on its resources.

The board is seeking to replace two decades-old continuous levies and add a new 1-mill tax on Tuesday’s ballot that would bring in $10.3 million annually, a net increase of nearly 80 percent over the existing two levies.

The replacement and new millage would boost taxpayers’ annual payment from $6.67 to $63 per $100,000 of property valuation, according to the county Auditor’s Office.

The proposal, which appears on the ballot as Issue 2, replaces existing levies of 0.3 and 0.5 mills that are based on property values from 1958 and 1973, respectively, and, with the new 1-mill, would comprise nearly 25 percent of a projected $39.9 million annual tax revenue for the agency.

John Trunk, board superintendent, said the tax revenue collected by the agency has fallen to 2008 levels because of declining property valuations and the elimination of the state rollback on taxes.

At the same time, the board has seen a substantial increase in demand for services, which is expected to grow, the agency said.

Mr. Trunk said the board has experienced a nearly 30 percent increase in demand for services, and the waiting list for residential services has gone from 4,200 to nearly 5,000 over the last five years. “The biggest area that we hope to impact is reducing the residential waiting list,” he said.

To offset declining property tax collections, the agency has adopted cost-savings measures, including cutting about 100 positions, or about 20 percent of its staff, over the last eight years and eliminating longevity pay in employee collective-bargaining contracts.

Mr. Trunk said the agency also has made changes to tap into more federal Medicaid dollars for people who use services.

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



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