Wednesday, November 5, 2003

Clermont MRDD vote in dead heat

By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BATAVIA - A recount might be needed to decide the fate of a 0.75-mill operating levy for Clermont County's Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.

Early, unofficial results showed a dead heat - 50 percent for the levy and 50 percent against.

The measure would generate more than $2.7 million annually over the next five years, costing the owner of a $100,000 home $23 a year.

This is the board's third attempt at a levy increase in as many years.

It comes months after a performance audit conducted by the state. The results were released to the county in July.

The audit determined that "despite recent setbacks in its administration, the Clermont MRDD appears programmatically sound."

However, the audit also showed that the agency would carry a deficit of $1.5 million by fiscal year 2005, which by fiscal year 2007 could reach $4.7 million.

It recommended that to offset these projected deficits, the board should seek more local funds by 2004.

The agency, the audit recommended, should also set aside money for a "budget stabilization (rainy day) fund," which will help it to weather any changes in revenue or expenditures.

Lisa Davis, MRDD spokeswoman, said the added funds would help to decrease the agency's waiting list.

About 71 developmentally disabled people in Clermont County are currently not receiving services from the county agency because of a lack of funds. Another 104, who do receive some form of county service, occupy a separate waiting list for placement in an apartment or group home.

County commissioners requested the audit in February because of the agency's organizational troubles.


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