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Levies headed to ballot: Funding sought for Lawrence County DD, Children’s Services

PEDRO — The Lawrence County Commission voted on Thursday to request information from the county auditor so that two levies can be placed on the November ballot.

The first would be an additional 2.5-mill levy for 10 years for the purposes of the operation of programs and services authorized by county board of developmental disabilities, and for the operation of Lawrence County Developmental Disabilities facilities.

The second was a 2-mill levy for 10 years for funding Lawrence County Children Services.

Rich Blankenship, assistant director for the Lawrence County Department of Job and Family Services, urged the commission to send the levy to voters.

“We respectfully ask you to approve this, Blankenship said, stating that they had presented a large number of signatures to the commission in support of the levy.

“The opioid epidemic is taking its toll on future generations — that is our children,” he said, citing more than 60 children placed in foster homes.

“These children have experienced things no one in this room has experienced,” he said, adding that the cost of foster care can range from $30-300 per day.

“We’ve very conscious of our budget and work hard to stay within our boundaries, but we need help,” Blankenship said.

He said the ultimate goal of the agency is to reunite the families. He said the agency is asking the commission to let voters decide on the levy in the fall.

Terry Porter, director of Job and Family Services, echoed Blankenship’s request.

“We need to work together to get this done,” he said.

After the commissioners approved the two requests, commission president Freddie Hayes Jr. emphasized, “It is our job to put this on the ballot, but it is the people’s choice to decide.”

The commission met at the headquarters of Wayne National Forest, as its members were there to attend the Wheelin’ Sportsmen event after the meeting.

“This is my eighth year coming out here,” Hayes said. “And it’s probably one of my favorite days of the year.

In other business, the commission:

• Approved proposals for County Engineer Patrick Leighty to assign geotechnical service for work on county roads 20 and 13.

• Accepted the resignation of Rachel Horner as part time EMT with Lawrence County Emergency Medical Services.

• Reminded county residents of the Coal Grove Lions Clubs’ pancake breakfast with the Easter Bunny, set for 7 a.m.-noon at Dawson-Bryant High School on Saturday.

• Recognized Symmes Valley High School senior Chad Morris, recipient of a scholarship from the National Wild Turley Federation.