Delaware County commissioners took the first step toward approving a renewal tax levy for the county Board of Developmental Disabilities on Monday.
A proposed 2.1-mill renewal tax levy for the Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities would go before county voters in March 2016. County commissioners unanimously approved a resolution on Monday which authorized the proposed levy to go forward. A resolution to proceed will come before commissioners Nov. 19.
Kristine Hodge, superintendent of the Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities, told commissioners that the proposed levy would generate about $13.4 million in 2016. She said that figure represents about two-thirds of the board’s annual budget.
“For a homeowner with a $100,000 home, the cost would be about $61.87 annually for this tax, and there would be no increase for them,” Hodge said. “Our other sources of revenue at the county board include a .56-mill levy that won’t come up for another five years and we also have revenue from the state. We have some subsidies from the Department of Disabilities and from Medicaid.”
Hodge told commissioners that the Board of Developmental Disabilities has witnessed steady growth over the past five years in the number of individuals that it serves.
“From the year 2010 to ’16, we’ve had astronomical growth here,” she said. “Four hundred and 11 individuals was our net increase, so that’s an increase of 20.3 percent. Every year it’s about 4 percent growth in the number of people served. Back in 2010, we served 2,108 people, and right now it’s about 2,429. We serve folks from birth, so from birth to age 3 is our early intervention program. From age 3 until folks pass, we serve them through support administration.”
Hodge told commissioners that the agency’s estimated revenue for 2016 is $20.7 million, while the expenses are estimated at $20.3 million. She said the agency will experience a reduction in the amount spent on salaries and benefits, but will see an increase of $88,000 in materials and supplies due to upgrades in information technology infrastructure and hardware replacement. She noted that there will also be an increase in the amount spent on services to individuals.
“We’re also looking at increasing services by about $100,000,” Hodge said. “Currently, we serve folks directly to the tune of about $10 million that goes into the community. Five million (dollars) of that is actually levy funds, direct services through individual budgets. The other ($5.1 million) is through what we call Medicaid Match. We leverage money from federal sources to put services in the community for people we serve.”
Hodge said the demographics of individuals served by the Board of Developmental Disabilities breaks down to 80 percent children and 20 percent adults. She said the average annual cost of serving a child in Delaware County is about $2,000. The average annual cost of serving an adult is about $11,700. According to agency projections for the next 16 years past 2016, another 70 adults will be added to their service list, which will increase the service costs.
Delaware County voters have been kind of the Board of Developmental Disabilities in recent years. According to data from the Board of Elections website, voters in May 2013 approved a tax levy by a nearly 2-to-1 margin to provide an additional 0.56 mills over eight years. In May 2011, a 2.1-mill, 5-year replacement levy gained the approval of voters by a margin of 58-42 percent.
Andrew Carter can be reached at 740-413-0902 and on Twitter @AndrewCarterDG.