Tuesday, Aug 21, 2018
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Voters OK levies for port, disabled

Taxes to help handle services, boost jobs




Lucas County voters approved a renewal for a levy that provides jobs creation programs and a replacement and new millage for the agency that serves the developmentally disabled.

The 0.4-mill, five-year levy to fund operations of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority passed by a wide margin.

The issue, which costs the owner of real estate valued at $100,000 an annual $6.60, raises $2.1 million for the port authority.

Its assessment basis has gone unchanged since 1994, with three renewals since then.

The agency uses levy funds primarily for facilities improvements, often as the local match for state and federal grants, and for its community economic development program.

RELATED CONTENT: Full election results

Recent projects undertaken with levy money include acquisition and cleanup of the former Jeep factory site in central Toledo and the cleanup and construction of a new bulk-materials terminal on the former Gulf Oil refinery in East Toledo.

The largest countywide levy sought on Tuesday’s ballot was for the Lucas County Developmental Disabilities board, and it passed by a substantial vote.

The tax issue before voters asked for replacement of existing levies of 0.3 and 0.5 mills that are based on property values from 1958 and 1973, respectively, and an additional 1-mill. It will bring in $10.3 million annually, a net increase of nearly 80 percent over the existing two levies.

The levy will boost a taxpayer’s annual tax payment from $6.67 to $63 per $100,000 of property valuation.

The agency said the additional tax and replacements are needed because tax revenue has fallen to 2008 levels because of declining property valuations and elimination of the state rollback on taxes.

However, the board had seen 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.

Board Superintendent John Trunk said the new tax dollars will address the agency’s growing needs in the future while providing resources for job training and programs for current users.

“This creates some great opportunities for us to address our residential waiting list, which was our primary focus in our campaign,” Mr. Trunk said. “Those on the list are adults living with aging parents who will need residential help in the future.

“Individuals who are currently in our system were at risk for not getting prompt, quality service had this levy not passed.”

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

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