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Renewal levy sought for Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities

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MEDINA — The Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities plans to put a renewal levy on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Medina County commissioners are expected to pass a resolution Tuesday to put the 1.12-mill levy on the ballot. It would generate about $5.2 million the first year for 10 years and would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $32.50 per year.

Several members of the MCBDD administration attended the commissioners’ meeting Tuesday to discuss the levy including Stacey Maleckar, superintendent of the MCBDD; Carey Bates, business director; Jon Bluebond, retired superintendent; and Annie Finnerty, assistant superintendent.

“We are requesting a renewal of our 10-year levy,” Maleckar said. “It’s not a new tax. We use this (for) funding resources.”

Maleckar said since its operating levy passed in 2010, 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:

  • 18 percent increase in people needing services;
  • 147 percent increase in early intervention services for children up to age 3;
  • 54 percent increase in caseloads for service and support administration (case management);
  • 58 percent increase in number of service waivers for which it has funding responsibility;
  • 228 percent increase in assistive technology services which began in 2015;
  • 61 percent increase in the number of people MCBDD has helped find employment in the community;

“Our services have grown,” she said.

Maleckar, who took over as superintendent in January, said there is an increase in the need for educational/training programs for individuals, families and providers.

Maleckar said the MCBDD will have a projected carryover of $22 million at the end of 2019.

“It’s a blessing and a curse,” she said. “We’ve done a really good job as an organization watching over how we’re spending money.”

She said over the next 10 years, largely because of changes at the state level, the MCBDD will use much of that money.

Commissioner Pat Geissman said several people have mentioned the carryover to her.

“It’s something people question,” she said.

“You’ve shown you have a need,” Geissman said. “With all the changes that have occurred from the state level over the last five years, it has definitely made a difference in your funding needs.”

Maleckar said a substantial amount of the MCBDD’s cost comes from waiver reimbursements.

Waivers are one way to pay for services that help people with developmental disabilities live their lives in their communities through the Medicaid program. The MCBDD currently serves about 1,250 people.

“That will continue to grow as we continue to serve more and more people,” she said.

Maleckar said the waivers that people are awarded allows them to choose their services and what they need.

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.

“Those dollars stay with that individual,” she said. “They are making choices in their lives of what they want to do, what they want to achieve and how they want to be involved in the community.”

The older the people get, the more needs they usually have, she said.

“It can go all the way up to $200,000 a year, based on their needs,” Maleckar said. “Some have more intense needs, as they live on their own. There is a huge gamut. It’s all based on that person and what they need and what’s important to their lives to be successful.

“We’re with them for their whole lives.”

Maleckar said more waivers are on the way.

“We’ll have larger financial responsibility for those waivers,” she said.

Bluebond said they are also hoping to increase wages for staff members, many of which make around $11 an hour.

He’s hoping for a rate increase, which he said would help with its high staff turnover.

In other news:

  • The Medina County Soil and Water Conservation District will host a soil testing clinic at 6:30 p.m. May 1 at Westfield Township Hall, 6699 Buffham Road. The clinic is geared toward homeowners.
  • Commissioners commended the girls for being selected as members of the 2019 Spring Leadership Ball, in service to Feeding Medina County.
    They are:
    Susan Beier, Medina
    Audrey Calvin, Our Lady of Elms, Akron
    Culley Emerson, Buckeye
    Grace Fischer, Highland
    Bailey Freeland, Cloverleaf
    Jenna French, Medina
    Makayla Grecenuk, Highland
    Kelsey Heichel, Highland
    Allison Horner, Medina
    Grace Kaylor, Medina County Career Center, Medina
    Kaylie Kenne, Highland
    McKenna Kilbane, Brunswick
    Emily Kretschmer, Buckeye
    Hanna Kunzler, Highland
    Alena Law, MCCC, Medina
    Madison Luthy, Medina
    Audrey Miles, Brunswick
    Abigail Montgomery, MCCC, Medina
    Sadie Nayman, Highland
    Katherine Neate, Medina
    Payton Nielsen, Medina
    Ella Rasper, Medina
    Margaret Selva, Medina
    Kenlynn Sundby, Medina
    Emilie Thomas, Medina
    Elizabeth Whetstone, Buckeye
    Grace Winrod, Cloverleaf
    Addie Wisniewski, Highland
    Abigail Yates, Medina
    Melanie Zammarrelli, Brunswick
  • Commissioners will host their only night meeting of the year at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 9.
  • Medina County Job and Family Services has reached an agreement with Jobs for Ohio Graduates on a Summer Youth Employment Program this summer. It will provide summer jobs for low income youths to gain work experience. Youths will be paid $10 an hour.
  • The Medina County Public Transit is hiring part-time drivers, both CDL and non-CDL operators, Director Shannon Rine said.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.
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