Voters in Summit County will be asked Nov. 7 to renew a tax issue that funds many of the programs and services provided by the Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board.

Issue 3 is a 4.5-mill, six-year renewal levy request for the Summit County DD Board. If the levy is approved, it would continue costing the owner of a home valued at $100,000 $138 annually. The levy is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2018, according to Billie Jo David, director of communications for the Summit DD Board. If it's renewed on Nov. 7, the issue would continue collecting taxes through 2024.

Issue 3 pays for support and services to approximately 4,700 adults and children with developmental disabilities in the county, according to www.supportsummitdd.com.

The tax issue funds the connection of more than 2,700 adults to disability services in the county, as well as early intervention services for 1,000 families with children under the age of 6, service coordination, Special Olympics and other programs, the website said.

Joe Eck, labor relations representative for the Summit DD Board, told Cuyahoga Falls City Council on Oct. 16 that Issue 3 is the Board's "sole operating levy" and generates "approximately 81 percent of the Board's revenue." He added the levy produces about $50 million per year. Of that amount, Eck said about $25 million is used "to draw down an additional $60 million in federal Medicaid dollars which is pumped right into the local community through private providers." The other $25 million pays for services that are not covered by Medicaid, according to Eck.

While Summit DD has operated with the "same level of funding since 2007," it "has seen an increased demand for services, serving 1,600 more people in the last 10 years without a tax increase," according to www.supportsummitdd.com.

If the tax issue fails, access to the Medicaid funding "could be jeopardized," the website said, and early intervention services for 1,000 families with children age 6 and under would be discontinued; 650 Special Olympic athletes would lose funding; and support to teenagers to help them transition into "independent, community-based services" when they reach adulthood would also be continued.

David added that if it failed, the levy would be put back on the ballot at the next opportunity.

Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 7. For more information, call the Summit County Board of Elections at 330-643-5200 or visit www.summitcountyboe.com.

pkeren@recordpub.com

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