The Herald Times printed part of this press release in today’s paper here (subscription required). I’m including the full press release here, along with some calculations that illustrate what I’m proposing:
Monroe County Council President Geoff McKim calls for increased funding for two local organizations that serve county residents with developmental disabilities.
“We have a responsibility to build a community that is inclusive to all” said McKim. “And these two organizations not only help care for individuals with developmental disabilities, but help them care for themselves, hold jobs, volunteer in the community, and lead independent lives.”
Monroe County Government currently provides $300,000 annually to LifeDesigns (formerly Options for Better Living) and $400,000 to Stone Belt. These appropriations are provided by a special levy allowed by state law that is dedicated to services for individuals with developmental disabilities. However, unlike other tax levies that Monroe County Government uses to fund basic services, this one has not seen a cost of living increase since 2006. At the same time, other funding for services for people with developmental disabilities are declining dramatically; these two organizations have lost over $3.5M in Medicaid revenue alone since 2009.
McKim proposes that the Council increase the levy each year by the annual cost of living increase that other tax levies that the County uses are allowed to increase by. This increase amounted to 2.9% in 2012, and is based on a six-year statewide average of economic growth. “I know it isn’t a lot of money,” said McKim. “But for these important organizations that are taking hits from the state and the federal government, every little bit helps.”
Normally, this increase would be handled during budget hearings in the fall, McKim explained. However, an advertising error from the auditor’s office last year led to the levy for 2012 being cut by $67,000. “We need to communicate clearly the intentions of the Council to correct that error and make good on the shortfall so these organizations can adjust their budgets appropriately. A Council resolution is the best way to communicate this intention – and at the same time we can indicate our intention to give them a cost of living increase.”
McKim said that he would be presenting a resolution at the next Council work session. “This an opportunity to deliver tangible results to people with disabilities and the organizations serving them” McKim concluded. “It Is the right thing to do.”
Example Levy Growth Calculations
|Stone Belt||Life Designs||Total||Notes|
|2012 Levy Shortfall||$38,286||$28,714||$67,000|
|2013 Levy Growth||2.20%||2.20%||2.20%||Assumes 2.2% is the levy growth; would substitute the actual levy growth|
|2012 Shortfall Addback||$38,286||$28,714||$67,000|
|2014 Levy Growth||2.20%||2.20%||2.20%||Assumes 2.2% is the levy growth; would substitute the actual levy growth|