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Advocates hope for passage of LCDD levy: 2.5 mills for 10 years sought from voters

Election Day is only weeks away and advocates for those with developmental disabilities are campaigning hard for support from voters.

A 2.5 mill-funding levy for Lawrence County Developmental Disabilities will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot. It would last for a term of 10 years.

LCDD Superintendent Julie Monroe stopped by the October meeting of the Ironton Tribune readers board to make the case for the levy.

“We have not been on the ballot since 2006 and, even then, it was a renewal,” she said. “This is the first new money we have asked for since 1991.”

She said that Lawrence County has lagged behind neighboring counties in funding for disability services.

She said Lawrence County comes in at 83 out of 88 counties in funding, even though it has a disability population that is 42 out of 88.

“Scioto County, while larger, has 7 mills,” she said. Another 2.5 mills makes us at about 5, which is right for a county our since.”

Local funding makes up the biggest chuck of LCDD’s support, accounting for about 38 percent of its budget. The agency serves about 500 in the county.

Monroe said the levy would help them to better meet needs.

“This would allow us to continue service we already provide, as well as expand,” Monroe said.

With the cost of services increasing, LCDD advocates say they are facing financial difficulties by next year.

Without the levy, supporters say Open Door School would have a significant funding shortfall. The school recently relocated to Coal Grove. Officials say the cost of renovating the aging building they had in Ironton would have been excessive.

The move was paid for with the sale of property in Coal Grove to the county, which will be used for a 911 center.

In addition to Open Door School, LCDD works with those from all ages, helping them to find employment, secure transportation and to get access to services. Due to funding issues, many are on a waiting list for LCDD at the moment.

Monroe said that the levy would allow them to increase hiring and do a better of reaching out to those individuals.

“We have a huge mission,” Monroe said. “It is not just about Open Door. We are responsible for all individuals with disabilities in the county.”