ASHLAND -- Ashland County voters have overwhelmingly approved the continuation of three countywide renewal levies.
Levies for the Mental Health and Recovery Board, Dale-Roy School's programs and facilities and Ashland County Park District's operating expenses passed with more than 70 percent approval rates, according to final unofficial election results from the Ashland County Board of Elections.
The 5-year, 1-mill renewal levy for Mental Health and Recovery Board was approved with 17,692 votes (72.18 percent) in favor; the 3-year, 2.1-mill renewal levy for the Dale-Roy School's programs and facilities passed with 18,227 votes (73.38 percent) in support; and the 5-year, 0.5 mill renewal levy for the Ashland County Park District's operating expenses was approved with 17,309 votes (72.64 percent) for the levy.
Mental Health Board's Levy
The Mental Health and Recovery Board's levy costs a homeowner $28.37 per year on real estate with a $100,000 value, raising about $1.2 million annually.
"It funds critical services during critical times," said Mental Health and Recovery Board of Ashland County Executive Director Steve Stone. "I think people agree mental health and addiction services are more important than ever. And we certainly appreciate the support."
It funds a variety of programing, but the most significant is the School-Community Liaison Program, which began in 1999 as a collaborative effort between the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Ashland County, Appleseed Community Mental Health Center and Ashland County’s public school districts. The board committed to "growing and sustaining" the school liaison program in 2001 when the levy was initially passed. The program now employs 12 liaisons in six school districts.
The levy also funded a mobile app that launched earlier this year.
Dale-Roy School's Levy
The 3-year, 2.1 mill levy for the Dale-Roy School costs a homeowner $55.77 annually on real estate with a $100,000 value. It is expected to generate $1.9 million annually.
"We're really grateful for the support of the Ashland community. They've been great for so many years, supporting folks with disabilities in the county," said Director of Community Relations/Medicaid Management Bruce Kramer. "We look forward to continuing to be good stewards of the resources that we have.
The levy amounts to about 34 percent of the Ashland County Board of Developmental Disabilities (ACBDD) annual projected revenue of $5,651,500, which is already short of its projected $6,300,000 in expenditures for 2020.
The ACBDD typically serves over 50 children annually through Early Intervention, birth through age 3, 32 school-aged students with special needs and more than 140 adults in Adult Day programs such as D-R Services, The Link, and Midwest.
Additionally, service coordinators currently provide case management to over 240 individuals including assessment, planning, referral, and monitoring of needed services.
"It helps us to remain on a steady track providing services," Kramer said.
Ashland County Park District's Levy
The Ashland County Park District's levy costs approximately $17 annually on real estate with a $100,000 value.
It generates over $500,000 annually and accounts for more than 80 percent of the ACPD's budget.
"On behalf of the Ashland County Park District, I would like to express our sincerest appreciation and gratitude to the Ashland County voters for your overwhelming support in passing the renewal levy," said ACPD director Stephanie Featheringill.
The levy originally passed in 2016. It has since supported the construction of new park amenities and general upkeep of the ACPD's 15 parks.
"This will allow the park district to keep all of the parks open, continue improvements, and provide a safe environment for the entire family to enjoy," Featheringill said. "The Ashland County Park District offers tremendous value to the communities, and it’s evident that voters clearly see the quality we provide.
"We are excited to continue to work toward the commitment of making the parks even more family-friendly and accessible to all Ashland County residence. Thank you for investing in the Ashland County Park District."
This story was updated at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4 to include comment from Featheringill.