Petition gathers more than 3,000 signatures in hopes of putting levy back on ballot

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SOUTH POINT, Ohio (WOWK) — Following the failure to pass a 2.5 millage levy on election day that would benefit the Board of Developmental Disabilities, voters in Lawrence County organized to collect signatures for a petition that asks the commissioners to put the levy back on the ballot.

A grand total of 3,103 signatures were collected over the weekend. The petition comes after the tax levy failed to pass by a margin of 354 votes in last Tuesday’s general election.

“In that short amount of time, to rally that many people, that shows that there actually is a need,” said Communications and Resources Development Director for the LCDD, Tim Nunnery. “We’re hearing that several people just did not vote, [they] didn’t come out because they expected [the levy] to pass. We rested on our laurels in this county.”

Tuesday morning, representatives with the Lawrence County Board of Developmental Disabilities presented those signatures to the commissioners. Commissioner Freddie Hayes said the commissioners would have to verify the signatures and check with their legal counsel.

Nunnery says the monies from the tax levy would have helped them maintain the services they already provide and allow them to expand their outreach. The LCDD was also hoping to cut down on a waiting list of people across Lawrence County in need of their services.

Now, the LCDD is facing cuts. The board recently laid off several staff members, including two educators in the school program and a specialist in the early intervention program. Those duties will now fall on the shoulders of other staff members.

The LCDD will meet Tuesday to finalize a resolution to put the levy back into voters’ hands. They will then have to present the resolution at the next commissioners meeting on Tuesday, November 26.

“To [the] people that didn’t vote for it, hopefully, it opens their eyes as well. We don’t want anybody to feel bad for not voting for it, but we actually want to educate those people,” Nunnery said.

In a statement, the commissioners say, “We look forward to the opportunity to work through this process and deliver the fairest answer to Lawrence County citizens.”

The LCDD has not had an increase in funding since 1991.

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