Wednesday, July 24th, 2013
By Shelley Grieshop
Cheryl Ann levy axed due to state cuts
Board likely will ask voters to approve new renewal levy in spring
  CELINA - A proposed levy to support programs for the disabled was voluntarily scrapped from the November ballot after the state recently pulled funding for all replacement levies.
Without the state's 12.5 percent rollback, local taxpayers would have to pay an additional $120,000 to $130,000 per year to fund the replacement levy for Mercer County Developmental Disabilities, known as Cheryl Ann programs. DD Superintendent Mike Overman on Tuesday told county commissioners he didn't want to put the added financial burden on the public.
"That's just too much money to surprise everybody with ... We just can't do that. The people here have been very good to us," Overman said.
Overman said he and the board of DD likely will ask voters to approve the measure as a renewal levy in the spring. The state removed its 12.5 percent rollback on new and replacement levies - not renewal levies - beginning in 2014.
Commissioners two months ago, at Overman's request, approved a resolution to place the proposed five-year, 1.94-replacement levy, on the November ballot. Six weeks later the state announced its plan to remove the rollback.
The countywide levy generates $1.2 million annually and expires December 2014. The proposed levy - with an adjustment for increased property values - would have generated an additional $500,000 for Medicaid waivers and therapy for children and the establishment of a capital improvement fund. The owner of a $100,000 home would have paid approximately $59 per year, calculated with the state's 12.5 percent rollback.
On Monday night, the DD board unanimously voted to ask commissioners to rescind the levy from the fall ballot. Commissioners on Tuesday told Overman they likely would grant the request on Thursday after a new resolution is reviewed by the county prosecutor's office.
Overman said the DD board will "figure out a way" to get the money needed to adequately fund the programs offered at the facility along Mud Pike, west of Celina.
"We'll have to wait and see how things shake out," he said.
The termination of the state's 12.5 percent rollback was included in Gov. John Kasich's two-year budget bill, which was signed into law June 30. Since the 1970s, the state has subsidized local levies with income and sales taxes paid by all Ohioans.
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