The Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities is seeking approval of a 2.1-mill renewal levy in Tuesday primary election.
The levy would generate $13,441,100 per year, representing two-thirds of the county agency’s annual budget.
The board said the levy now costs taxpayers $61.87 per $100,000 of home valuation. Approval of the levy’s renewal would not increase taxes, officials point out.
A fact sheet issued by the board states that the agency served 2,447 individuals with developmental disabilities and their families in 2015, with 80 percent under the age of 21. Its program areas serve individuals from birth and throughout their life and include early intervention, “Help Me Grow,” transition support, in-home support, therapies, employment services, and transportation. The individuals are also connected to 329 service providers in the community.
“The largest amount of our budget each year goes directly to services for the individuals and families we serve,” said Superintendent Kristine Hodge. “We have been responsible stewards of your tax dollars, and will continue this effort by reviewing efficiency and streamlining processes so that all individuals with developmental disabilities needing assistance will have access to services.”
Three years ago, voters approved a .56-mill levy that made up for lost revenue due to a decline in county property values.
When asked if the agency would change and use the state’s model of early invention, Hodge said in an email: “The board has not made any decisions to change our current methods of care. The state has mandated that county boards explore the primary service provider approach to early intervention. As part of that requirement, DCBDD hosted a board training in February to learn more about it. What is best for the families we serve will continue to be DCBDD’s priority.
“Delaware County is unique in the way we handle services for those with developmental disabilities. We believe in self-determination, allowing families to have greater control over the services they receive and who provides those services. This is not only beneficial to the families we serve, it also reduces costs.”
Hodge said that even if you don’t need the board’s services now, you could in the future.
“We hear from parents all of the time that they never imagined they would be calling us, but they are grateful that when they needed us, we were there,” she said. “We hope that Delaware County will support this levy because it promotes a better community for all residents. Everyone deserves to have the opportunity to live, learn, play, work and participate in the community, regardless of our differences.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.