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Keeping current services and reaching new people with programs was the focus of two countywide levies that passed in Tuesday’s general election.
The Coshocton Public Library System passed a new half mill levy for operations and materials with 4,025 vote for and 3,118 votes against in unofficial vote totals from the Coshocton County Board of Elections. The Coshocton County Board of Developmental Disabilities passed a replacement and additional levy for a total of 2.8 mills for operations with 3,592 yes votes and 3,525 no votes.
Library Director Eric Taggart said the estimated $400,823 the levy will generate annually will go to expanding hours, increasing staff and growing its collection, particularly digital offerings. All of these areas have received cuts in the past several years due to approximately $300,000 in state funding being loss in 2009 because of the economic recession.
Taggart said the library has been drawing on savings, but had reached a tipping point. He had repeatedly told people they could have a better library or worse library, but not the same library based on where they were at financially.
Concrete plans are not in place yet, but Taggart said he and the library board of trustees would begin examining how to best distribute the funds they will start receiving in 2018. Taggart knows that adding digital items, like e-books, will be a high priority based on patron demand.
“This is going to make the library more accessible in terms of the number of hours we’re open and services we offer,” Taggart said. “We’ve been running very close (financially) over the last eight years and this will allow us to take care of some things that we’ve kind of put off. A lot of libraries are providing more digital offerings than we are right now.”
Steve Oster, superintendent of Coshocton County Board of DD, said the levy would bring in an estimated $2.03 million per year. It would allow the agency to keep current services and programs while cutting down on the waiting list of new people seeking assistance.
About 437 individuals receive some sort of assistance from the Board of DD with that number doubling since 2009. Oster credits this to those with disabilities living longer, better early detection of disabilities and Coshocton County doing a good job of getting services to those in need.
Services offered include early intervention, Help Me Grow, Hopewell School and assistance for students in local public schools, Special Olympics, job place placement and skill development, residential housing, in the home equipment and more. Oster said if the levy hadn’t passed, youth services were in danger of cuts as those are not mandated by the state.
“For our budget this means we can continue to take people into the program that need services, which is real important to us,” Oster said. “This will keep waiting lists down so we can help people as they come in the door.”
Among renewal levies was one for the Coshocton City Schools District for improving and equipping buildings and sites. The 1.12 mills raises approximately $118,000 per year.
“We’re very grateful for any funds we can use,” Hire said. “It helps us able to maintain the properties and things that we have. We need to keep them in good shape.”
This article has been reproduced for educational purposes only and appeared in the Coshocton Tribune. The original story can be found at: http://www.coshoctontribune.com/story/news/local/2017/11/08/voters-generosity-means-residents-continue-receive-services/844830001/
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