MEDINA – Among the issues facing voters in the Nov. 5 election will be the renewal of a 1.12-mill operating levy for the Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
A yes vote on the issue will not increase taxes and allow the agency to continue collecting about $5.2 million a year for the next 10 years. If approved by voters, the levy is estimated to cost the owner of a $200,000 home about $64 a year in real estate taxes.
The mission of the MCBDD is to promote and empower individuals with developmental disabilities to live, learn, work, and socialize as citizens in the community. The board serves as a community resource responsible for connecting, coordinating, and funding services for about 1,250 individuals of all ages with developmental disabilities.
MCBDD Superintendent Stacey Maleckar described the importance of the levy in a presentation earlier this year. She told Medina County commissioners that failure of the levy would result in the organization eating into a $22 million budget balance that has built up over the years because of the strong support of county voters.
Maleckar also said that budget is likely to shrink in coming years even if the levy passes because the cost of providing services is trending upward.
Maleckar said the MCBDD has seen a marked increase in services that, if the trends continue, will require the agency to have continued steady funding. Here are some key service increases for the board since this operating levy passed in 2010:
• An 18 percent increase in people needing services;
• A 147 percent increase in early intervention services for children up to age 3;
• A 54 percent increase in caseloads for service and support administration (case management);
• A 58 percent increase in number of service waivers for which it has funding responsibility;
• A 228 percent increase in assistive technology services which began in 2015;
• A 61 percent increase in the number of people MCBDD has helped find employment in the community;
“Our services have grown,” Maleckar said.
Maleckar said the number of people served by her agency is expected to continue to grow along with the waivers they receive as a means to pay for services. “That will continue to grow as we continue to serve more and more people,” she said.
According to Maleckar, waivers are a means to allow clients to choose their services and what they need. Reimbursements for those Medicaid waivers account for a substantial amount of the MCBDD’s costs. Waivers are one way to pay for services that help people with developmental disabilities live their lives in their communities through the Medicaid program.
There are different services that people use throughout their lifetime, including early intervention (0-3), school age (4-13), transition (14-22), adulthood (23 and up), community inclusion and aging.
The upcoming election is set for Nov. 5 with city council, school board, township trustees and other local issues on the ballot.
Residents have until Oct. 7, to register to vote or update voting information with the Medina County Board of Elections, 3800 Stonegate Drive, Medina Township.
Early absentee voting will begin at 8 a.m. Oct. 8 and go until Nov. 4. Times vary by day. For more information, visit medinacountyelections.org.