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Published: Thursday, 10/7/2004

Wood County faces levy for health services

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - Voters across Wood County will be asked Nov. 2 to approve an increase in taxes for the board that coordinates alcohol, drug addiction, and mental health services in the county.

The Wood County ADAMHS board is seeking an additional 0.5-mill and the replacement of its existing 1.1-mill levy. If approved, it would generate $4.1 million a year - about $1.99 million more a year than it does now - for 10 years.

The levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 house $49 a year, or $25.74 more than it currently does.

Larry Mershman, executive director of the board, said the additional funding is needed to maintain the counseling, treatment, and educational services provided to county residents for adolescent substance abuse, childhood behavioral and emotional problems, depression, mental illness, and domestic violence.

The board provides those services through contracts with the Children's Resource Center, Family and Child Abuse Prevention Center, Behavioral Connections, Family Service Counseling, and Wood County Educational Service Center.

"Like our brochure says, it's for a healthier, safer community," Mr. Mershman said. "It will allow us to continue with the current level of services in Wood County, especially those services targeted to our youth."

While the levy is the only countywide tax issue on the November ballot, voters will see a variety of city, village, and township tax levies that support police and fire departments, roads, and recreation.

Both the village of Bradner and the fledgling Pemberville Freedom Township Joint Recreation District are seeking new millage to help keep local swimming pools open.

The recreation district is seeking a three-year, 1.5-mill levy that would generate about $83,000 a year to operate the pool at Memorial Park in Pemberville. Revenue from the levy also may be used to maintain the ball diamonds and tennis courts at the park and building recreational facilities.

Ellen Walston, a township trustee and member of the recreation board, admits she's heard some resistance from township residents who question why they should support Pemberville's pool. She said they need to remember many township families use the pool, and the levy could help pay for soccer fields and other facilities in the township.

"Township people - and I live in the township too - we all brought our kids to the pool for swimming lessons," she said. "It's been a nice advantage. It's a nice thing to have around."

For years, the nonprofit Pemberville Community Pool Board struggled to maintain the pool, which was built with private donations in the 1960s. In 2002, the village agreed to take it over. Paying for the pool's operation became such an issue that at one point, the mayor suggested seceding from Freedom Township so the village could collect the tax money residents pay to the township to use for the pool. Instead, the joint recreation district was formed.

In Bradner, taxpayers will be asked to approve a five-year, 0.5-mill levy that would generate about $6,000 a year to operate and maintain the village pool.

"We're all for the kids, and this is really all they've got in town," said Rick Plouck, pool and park manager in Bradner. "We've got to do what we can to keep it open for the kids."

While the pool requires close to $18,000 a year to operate, Mr. Plouck said the levy revenue would help pay the cost of getting the pool opened each summer, including cleaning and painting.

This is the second time Bradner will be on the ballot with a pool levy. Last November, the same issue failed 142-155, prompting Mr. Plouck to go door to door in town and in neighboring communities to ask businesses to kick in to help get the pool opened. He collected $7,000, and the pool was open for the summer.

A complete list of issues on the ballot in Wood County is available at www.co.wood.oh.us/BOE.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at:

jfeehan@theblade.com

or 419-353-5972.



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