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Published: Friday, 9/5/2014

Wood County taxpayers get break on levy

Family agency cuts collection


BOWLING GREEN — Collection on a Wood County levy will once again be cut in half, saving taxpayers about $1.83 million next year.

The county plans to collect 50 percent of a Job and Family Services protective services levy in 2015, marking the fourth time since 2000 that the levy collection has been reduced voluntarily.

Officials said the reduction is possible because of careful budgeting and cost reductions within Job and Family Services.

The levy pays for protective services for children and adults.

“We try to be responsible to the taxpayer, so if we feel like we have adequate reserve funds then we try to not collect the [full] amount,” said David Wigent, director of Job and Family Services of Wood County.

The 1.3-mill replacement levy was approved in 2007 for 10 years.

It would generate about $3.7 million annually if collected in full.

Job and Family Services recommended cutting the collection amount because the agency has been able to control its costs, including placing more children who need to be removed from a home with other family members instead of more expensive group homes, Mr. Wigent said.

“We’ve put a lot of effort into finding alternatives to putting children in foster homes,” he said, adding that placing children with relatives is also typically better for the child.

This will be the second year that the county has taken in only half of its approved amount for the levy.

The Wood County commissioners earlier this week unanimously approved a resolution supporting the reduction for 2015.

The reduction plan will now go to the Wood County budget commission for final approval, said county Administrator Andrew Kalmar.

The commission has yet to schedule a meeting to consider the proposal, according to the auditor’s office, though officials expect it to be authorized.

Contact Vanessa McCray at: vmccray@theblade.com or 419-724-6065, or on Twitter @vanmccray.

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