Developmental Disabilities Funding up for vote in Lawrence County

Local News

COAL GROVE, Ohio(WOWK)- Lawrence County Developmental Disabilities (LCDD) is asking for the voters help on November 5th, as they want residents in the area to vote “Yes” on a mill levy to create a new stream of revenue for the services it offers, and if the levy isn’t approved LCDD fears some cuts will have to be made.

LCDD has been serving the area for about 60 years, and they offer a wide array of services from early childhood intervention to services and support for adults.

They even have a school, the Open Door School, for people ages 6 to 22.

“We are teaching them the academics they would get at a typical school but we are also incorporating functional life skills,” said Cassie Patten, intervention specialist grades 9-12.

Tim Nunnery, communications director for LCDD, added: “Students at Open Door School learn many daily living activities such as hygiene, such as accounting- such as cooking”.

The school has about 60 students and eight classrooms, and Patten said they offer families something that they cant receive at a regular school.

“The classroom sizes are a lot smaller here and when students come here they are our number one priority”.

However, everything isn’t sunshine and rainbows with LCDD these days.

The county board for LCDD is expecting a $900,000 shortfall in funding by the year 2020, due to the increased cost of doing business.

“Expenditures, utilities, inflation. . . everything else goes up. Meanwhile, the money you have coming in stays the same,” said Nunnery.

Currently, LCDD has about $8 million in annual expenses and $6 million in annual revenue.

Nunnery said in 2016 they had a surplus of funds to cover expenses, but now those monies have dwindled away.

LCDD is asking residents to vote “YES” on for an additional 2.5 mill levy for a term of ten years, so they can continue to provide and expand services to the community. 

Nunnery said the agency has not been on the ballot for any kind of levy since 2006, and they haven’t asked for any new money since 1991. 

Local funding accounts for about 38 percent of LCDD’s budget, and they currently receive $2, 345, 671 from a 2.5 mill levy that is already in place. 

But Nunnery points out that LCDD ranks near the bottom of the state (83rd) for the amount of the local tax funding it receives, despite ranking as the 42nd largest county for individuals served.

He also fears that is the levy isn’t approved that some cuts will have to be made.

“At the Open Door School we currently operate eight classrooms, and there isn’t any certainty we will be able to operate eight classrooms with the funding shortage,” said Nunnery.

He also mentioned that the agency currently serves about 500 children and adults in the community, and they have a waiting list of people looking to receive services but without some additional funding Nunnery, those people will continue to go unserved.

Nunnery said the 2.5 mill levy would equate to a little more than $87 annually on a $100,000 home or 24 cents a day.


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