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County taxpayers will see some savings next year as the Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities voted to reduce its levy collection.
At the September meeting of the WCBDD, the board voted to reduce the 2.95-mill levy passed by voters in 2013 by half to 1.48 mills in 2018. The decision comes after completing the budget forecast for 2018 and reviewing an extensive list of cost-saving measures. The levy was not collected in 2017.
"The WCBDD is proud of our commitment to fiscal responsibility, while maintaining the focus on persons served. The board will continue to review its utilization of levy dollars as it prepares for projected growth and increased need for services," said Superintendent Brent Baer.
Board President Ed Metzger added, "The board takes our commitment to the taxpayers of Wood County and to the people we serve very serious. By reducing the collection of the 2.95-mill levy we feel we have provided tax relief to the people of Wood County while also ensuring safe and high quality programs for our citizens with developmental disabilities at a time of swift and monumental change throughout the DD landscape at the state and national levels."
When it first passed, the five-year levy generated about $8.1 million per year, and cost a family with a $100,000 home about $8.60 per month. With the reduction, collection will be $4.58 million in 2018 with a homeowner with a home valued at $100,000 paying $4.32 per month, according to the Wood County Auditor's Office.
The board's cost-savings over the past four years has been the direct effect of the final ruling in 2015 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Home and Community-based Services, which resulted in the Wood County Board of DD to adopt Conflict-Free Case management, according to Baer.
"Conflict-Free Case Management shifts the WCBDD from being the provider of services to the coordinator of services. To make that shift, Adult Services privatized on Oct. 1, 2016, and all adult transportation was discontinued by WCBDD on July 1," he explained. "This directly resulted in the decreased number of staff from a total of 233 employees consisting of 166 full-time employees and 67 part-time employees as of January 1, 2016, the total number of employees has decreased to 139 employees as of July 1, 2017, consisting of 85 full-time employees and 54 part-time employees."
In addition to the decrease in staff at the WCBDD, the administration of health coverage was transferred to the Board of County Commissioners. Prior to that, the WCBDD dropped coverage of spouses, which resulted in a significant savings, Baer added.
This article has been reproduced for educational purposes only and appeared in the Sentinel-Tribune. The original story can be found at: http://www.sent-trib.com/news/front_page/wood-county-dd-board-votes-to-reduce-levy-collection/article_c4eda473-83dc-5ab2-83e9-77c9858475a9.html
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