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Published: Wednesday, 3/30/2005

Fulton County: Proposals for tax levy in November weighed


WAUSEON - Fulton County Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities board appears likely to ask for a levy in November that would raise taxes by between $11 and $41 a year for the owner of a $100,000 home.

This month two board members, Dr. John Both and Rose Slagle, said the largest of those levy considerations would help the board reduce its waiting list for disabled adults to move out of their family home and into a government-funded apartment. The smallest of the proposed levy increases the board is considering might only keep it on even footing because of expected state cuts.

But board president Lisa Meeker said the board might be challenged just to pass the smaller levy increase. She said she wanted a levy she felt certain could pass because the board decided to wait until No-

vember to ask for a levy, even though it has a 1-mill levy that expires at the end of the year. So if voters would deny its November request, the board would have to make cuts.

"I don't want anything to go wrong in November, because then we've just dropped the ball for all the people we're serving now," Mrs. Meeker said.

The expiring levy generates almost $813,000 a year for the board, at a cost of more than $27 a year to the owner of a $100,000, owner-occupied home. Replacing that levy would generate more than $899,000 a year - an increase of $86,000 from simply renewing it.

But the board is mulling asking instead for a new 1.5-mill levy, with the promise that it would stop collections on a 0.5-mill, continuing levy on the books now. Such a plan would cost the owner of a $100,000 house an extra $11 a year and increase the agency's collections by $300,000 a year.

The board also talked about asking for a new 2-mill or 2.5-mill levy, also with the promise of stopping collections of the 0.5-mill continuing levy. Those plans could increase taxes for such a homeowner by up to $41 a year and the agency's collections by $1.1 million.

Such a homeowner now pays $90 a year in taxes to the county disabilities board on a total of three levies: the 1-mill levy that expires this year, a 2-mill levy that expires in 2007, and the continuing 0.5-mill levy.

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