November 28, 2014

Mostly cloudy

Commissioners put 10-year mental health levy on November ballot

ELYRIA — Voters will decide a renewal levy to fund mental health services in Lorain County on the November ballot.

The Lorain County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted Wednesday to place a 1.2-mill renewal levy on the upcoming ballot. The levy generates about $7.31 million a year, said Charles Neff, executive director of the county Board of Mental Health.

The levy represents 52 percent of the agency’s revenue stream, which is dwindling due to cuts in state and federal funding.

Originally passed in 1986, the levy has been a five-year levy. This time, it will be presented to voters as a 10-year levy to provide better stability and financial planning for the agency. When it was last passed in 2010, the support from voters was strong — it passed by a ratio of better than 2-to-1.

“In any given year, 25 percent of people experience a major mental health issue,” Neff said. “I tell people all the time if not now, then when. And if not you, then it could be your neighbor, co-worker or friend.”

The county Board of Mental Health uses its resources to contract with mental health providers so residents of Lorain County can receive services regardless of their ability to pay. All residents at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line are eligible for possible free services, and all other patients use a co-pay schedule that all partner agencies apply equally.

“Services are generally prescribed as a once a week schedule for a set number of weeks,” Neff said. “Even co-pays of $30 a week can become burdensome for a lot of people. We offer help to families so they are not deterred by cost in seeking services.”

In 2013, 10,500 people were served, including 5,607 females and 4,893 males. Clients served included 3,602 under age 18 and 6,898 older than 18.

Agencies funded by the Board of Mental Health include Applewood Centers, Beech Brook, Bellefaire JCB, Far West Center, Firelands Counseling, The Nord Center, Ohio Guidestone, Pathways Counseling and Big Brothers Big Sisters, Catholic Charities, El Centro and Gathering Hope House.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.

Mental health funding

WHAT IS IT: 1.2-mill renewal levy
HOW MUCH DOES IT RAISE: $7.31 million a year
HOW LONG IS IT: 10 years
WHAT DOES IT PAY FOR: Contract services with mental health providers so residents of Lorain County can receive services regardless of their ability to pay
WHAT DOES IT COST: The homeowner of a $100,000 home pays $36.74 a year

  • Mark B

    Why do you continue to put the burden on Property Owners . The property owners can not carry all the weight of community services and schools , its time to fund then a different way … I will be Voting NO !!!!!

  • luvmytoaster

    Is there any guarantee that these funds will stay in Lorain County? Most if not all of the agencies funded are based in Cuyahoga County with branch or satellite offices in Lorain County.

    Please vote no on a 10 year renewal levy.

  • Mark B

    The last Library levy cost the home owner $66.50 a year
    This will add another $36.74 a year
    the last school levy was another $65.00 a year
    so in the course of a little over a year our property taxes will have increased $168.00 that does not include the levy for LCCC . and before election day I am sure there will be several more levy’s added to the ballot , where does it stop , the burden on the property owner is becoming unsustainable. Soon we will be paying more a month in taxes than our mortgage its self.

    • luvmytoaster

      But they will tell you that it is not a “new” tax – only a renewal, that you’ve already been paying for it, it’s just going to be five years longer!

      And why is it that property taxes make up 52% of this agency’s revenue? They need to find a new source of funds…..

      The state and federal government continue to cut their share and we are asked to kick in more of our hard earned money.

      I think I can predict the outcome……oh and if by some chance it doesn’t pass, well don’t worry – they’ll place it on the next ballot.

      • Oneday67

        They want 10 years on this one

    • tickmeoff

      The home owner’s have more money than the renter’s, otherwise they would be Home Owner’s!

  • oldruss

    Why stop with just a 10 year levy? Why not make it 20 years, or better yet, make it a permanent levy. That way, Commissioners KALO, KOKOSKI, and WILLIAMS would never have to ask the voters to approve this levy ever again.

  • fortheluvof

    If people actually vote and vote no I may be able to afford to pay my property taxes next year.

  • Razorback Twou

    What part of, No More Taxes, don’t the commissioners understand?