We are disappointed, but want to express to the individuals and families with developmental disabilities that the levy result does not mean our community doesn’t support people with developmental disabilities. We know we are in an unprecedented time. While we are confident that the work the county board and all the service providers we financially support do every day is valued by our community, we recognize the need to better inform everyone on the necessity of local tax dollars. The increased revenue from this levy wasn’t for optional programs or services. People who live in Morrow County need similar supports as provided by other counties. In Ohio, our developmental disabilities system is based on local authority; the voter has the power to determine what level of support his neighbor receives. This system can be preferred to a state or federal level control, but it can also create disparities across county lines. Without local tax revenue, we cannot secure the federal Medicaid waiver funding that allows us to provide vital supports to Morrow County residents who are in need of crucial services. County board local tax revenue is necessary to provide the matching dollars that fund the residential agencies and independent providers who personally provide the supports. County Boards must forecast and plan when additional funds are needed. We knew 10 years ago we would need these funds. The aging population continues to be a concern as well as the families who need Early Intervention services. We have medical advances that may be considered miraculous. Babies who are born early now have the opportunities for a good life much like their full-term peers. They just need the therapies available through Early Intervention, which is funded locally by our tax revenue and we have reached our maximum support with our current levy funding.
The additional levy revenue is desperately needed next year to ensure the county board can continue to fund current supports and begin to address those who will need supports. The COVID-19 pandemic has only added to the challenge of stretching our very limited resources to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of community members with developmental disabilities. Our Board and leadership staff will evaluate the levy results in conjunction with our forecast and determine our next steps.
We do want to clearly express our sincere gratitude to those who continue to support people with developmental disabilities and to those wonderful people who made their voice heard in this election during very challenging times.