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12-10-02: Auglaize County MR/DD board places levy on spring ballot
The Daily Standard

    The Auglaize County Board of Mental Retardation/Develop-mental Disabilities officially approved a resolution Monday asking that a new 2 mill levy be placed on the May 2003 ballot.
    The resolution authorizes county auditor Karen Schumann to certify the required millage to generate the needed $1.7 million per year through 2009 to county commissioners. They also must consider the levy request before it can go before voters.
    If ultimately approved by Auglaize voters, the proposed levy would add an estimated  $70 per year to taxes on a $100,000 home.
    The board has discussed putting a fund-raising levy on the ballot for two years. The issue arose after projections showed the board had enough money and expected revenue to get through 2003, but would essentially have a zero balance by 2004.
    "We have no alternative," superintendent Al Willis said. "We took the money as far as we could."
     The proposed levy will support MR/DD services, generating matching funds for federal waivers, funds for capital improvement, transportation, equipment, community alternative funds and additional funds to cover operation costs.
    Willis said the levy resolution would be delivered to the county commissioners today.
    Willis, reading from the board minutes from the July 1996 meeting, said the board had vowed to make the previous levy extend through 2001, and pointed out the administration had stretched the money out an extra two years.
    "We have operated with efficiency with taxpayers dollars," Willis said. "I think the voters will see that when they vote. When everyone's cost per pupil was going up, ours actually went down."
    Willis said mandated services eat up the bulk of the money.
    "We are required by law to provide the necessary services to these individuals," Willis said. "If the levy fails, that mandate would not go away. There is nothing you can cut. Ninety-two percent of our budget is already related to direct service. We are responsible for these individuals from birth until death."
    Willis said if the levy failed, the board could not possibly meet state and federal requirements for MR/DD car and education.
    In other board business, Brice Smith was elected as president of the board for the 2003 year. Jim Becker was selected vice-president and Bob Kohlreiser was selected as recording secretary.
    The board then went into an executive session on personnel to discuss an attorney's report from the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and two cases of grievances filed by employees. No action was taken.


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