Human Services levy’s big win shows ‘a willingness to help others’

Nov 08, 2017
Chris Stewart
Theresa Sauter, 29, of Centerville receives a number of services funded by the Montgomery County Human Services Levy that helps integrate her into the community, allows her to live with a degree of independence and gives her employment opportunities such as the clerical job at Watson’s she’s held for nine years. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF

The Montgomery County Human Services Levy easily passed Tuesday, supported by about three of every four county voters.

The eight-year renewal levy will help fund safety-net programs for children in crisis, the developmentally disabled, the frail elderly and indigent — as well as those struggling with opioid addiction.

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“We couldn’t be more pleased that the voting citizens here in Montgomery County understand that our most vulnerable citizens really need our assistance,” said Montgomery County Commissioner Judy Dodge.

Unofficial final results show 73,042 people cast votes for the levy, Issue 3 on the ballot, while 24,544 voted against.

Since the mid-1990s after the county combined six levies into just two, a Human Services Levy has never failed to pass, a testament to the community’s support, said Charles Meadows, the levy campaign chair.

“Everybody probably can’t deal with all the problems on their own,” he said. “But as a community-wide effort, collectively we have a willingness to help others.”

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The portion renewed will generate $52 million annually and buttress an overall budget that directly assists about 50,000 people a year. But every county resident benefits from levy-funded health and safety programs, said Tom Kelley, assistant county administrator-Human Services and director, Job & Family Services.

“Literally everyone is served through the public health district,” Kelley said. “So we know every citizen is touched.”

Services such as immunizations, restaurant inspections, and air and water quality monitoring are critical to every citizen’s well-being and health, he said.

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Montgomery County commissioners called for no additional funding this year, keeping the levy at 6.03 mills. Known as Levy B, the owner of a home valued at $100,000 will continue to pay about $185 per year in property tax, according to the county auditor’s office. Voters in November 2014 approved a measure for Levy A that added 1 mill. At 8.21 mills, Levy A generated about $74.2 million in 2017.

Five main Montgomery County agencies receive the majority of the levy funding: the Board of Developmental Disabilities Services, Children Services, Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) board, Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County and the Area Agency on Aging.