On May 8, 2018, in addition to hotly contested primaries for governor, voters in several communities across Ohio will have the opportunity to approve local property tax levies to support health and human services. Below this article a comprehensive list of these levies, which we complied from all 88 counties’ Boards of Elections. There are 16 counties and one municipality with levies on the ballot for senior services, developmental disabilities, mental health and recovery services, children’s services or public health. Most are renewals, one is a replacement, and a handful are increases.
The Center for Community Solutions supports Issue 9, which would renew the 3.9 mill Cuyahoga County Human Service levy for two years.
Levies provide locally-generated dollars that support a variety of social service and health programs. They are calculated using mills, which is equivalent to one dollar of tax per $1,000 dollars of assessed property value. Two counties, Cuyahoga and Montgomery, have general purpose Health and Human Service levies, where money is spread across a range of services. My colleague, Will Tarter, has written extensively about the use of levy funds in Cuyahoga County. The Center for Community Solutions supports Issue 9, which would renew the 3.9 mill Cuyahoga County Human Service levy for two years. This levy funds a spectrum of local services, including nearly every county human service agency plus the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board and MetroHealth. The impact on Cuyahoga County residents if Issue 9 does not pass has been described as “catastrophic.”
The impact on Cuyahoga County residents if Issue 9 does not pass has been described as “catastrophic.”
Other counties have separate levies for various purposes, including mental health and/or addiction and recovery services, child welfare, senior services, public health and to support the county home. Some municipalities also have levies, most often to support a public health district or senior services. The particular mix of levies in each community, as well as the timing and millage of renewals, replacements, or additions, is usually determined by county government.
An excellent paper recently written by Community Solutions’ research fellow Emily Muttillo discusses the importance of local levy funds to the provision of services for older adults. Her recent blog shows that 70 percent of the funding for services for older adults in Ohio is generated by local property tax levies. On May 8, voters in two counties and one municipality will consider senior levies. Delaware County is seeking a renewal and increase for five years, Henry County is seeking a replacement and increase, and Violet Township in Fairfield County has a 0.2 mill, 5-year senior services levy on the ballot. Hancock County would use a portion of their Job and Family Services levy increase to support Adult Protective Services. The rest would apply to children’s services.
70 percent of the funding for services for older adults in Ohio is generated by local property tax levies
Three other counties, Hocking, Jackson and Washington, are seeking additional levies to support children’s services. Many communities are reporting that addiction and the opioid epidemic are straining not just the behavioral health system, but have also increased the number of children in foster care, putting pressure on child welfare agencies.
Voters in Lorain County will see two human service renewal levies on their ballot: the 0.6 mill mental health levy and a larger, 1.6875 mill levy supporting the system for persons with developmental disabilities. Three other counties in addition to Lorain are seeking renewals of developmental disabilities levies: Harrison, Clermont and Madison. And voters in one other county, Lake, will consider a renewal of the levy which supports their ADAMHS Board.
In a political environment where it doesn’t look likely that more resources will come from the federal level, local dollars are one of the only ways that communities can generate additional funds to meet needs.
Finally, two counties have a public health renewal on the ballot and two counties, Richland and Wayne, are seeking local dollars to fund their County Homes. Portage County is seeking support for the Public Health District, while Mahoning’s levy is for Tuberculosis, a holdover from a time when public health departments focused on communicable diseases.
Each of these levies is critical to the provision of services in Ohio communities. In a political environment where it doesn’t look likely that more resources will come from the federal level, local dollars are one of the only ways that communities can generate additional funds to meet needs. After the election, we will check the results and report on how the human service levies fared.
Levies relating to health and human services on the May 8, 2018 primary ballot
|County||Human Service Area||Levy Type||Rate||Period|
|Clermont||Developmental Disabilities||Renewal||0.75 mills||5 years|
|Cuyahoga||Human Services||Renewal||3.9 mills||2 years|
|Delaware||Senior Services||Renewal + Increase||1.2 mills + 0.1 mills||5 years|
|Hancock||Job & Family Services||Additional||1.2 mills||10 years|
|Harrison||Developmental Disabilities||Renewal||1 mill||5 years|
|Henry||Senior Services||Replacement + Increase||0.8 mills + 0.2 mills||5 years|
|Hocking||Children Services||Additional||1 mill||5 years|
|Jackson||Children Services||Additional||1.5 mills||10 years|
|Lake||Mental Health & Addiction||Renewal||0.7 mills||10 years|
|Lorain||Mental Health||Renewal||0.6 mills||5 years|
|Lorain||Developmental Disabilities||Renewal||1.6875 mills||5 years|
|Madison||Developmental Disabilities||Renewal||1 mill||5 years|
|Mahoning||Public Health||Renewal||0.1 mill||5 years|
|Portage||Public Health||Renewal||0.4 mills||5 years|
|Richland||County Home||Renewal||0.8 mills||5 years|
|Washington||Children Services||Additional||0.55 mills||5 years|
|Wayne||County Home||Renewal||0.7 mills||5 years|