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Election: Geauga mental health levies pass, fail;
[November 07, 2012]

Election: Geauga mental health levies pass, fail;

Nov 07, 2012 (The News-Herald - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Two mental health levies in Geauga County received differing results in Tuesday's election.

A five-year 0.5-mill renewal levy in Geauga County passed with an unofficial final vote count of 31,556 to 16,791. However, a separate five-year 0.25-mill additional levy met with failure as unofficial results were tallied at 26,769 to 21,082.

"I think it was not unexpected," said Geauga Board of Mental Health and Recovery Services Executive Director and CEO Jim Adams. "A lot of issues and a lot of individuals were confused about splitting the issues which the commissioners did. My understanding was they were concerned about losing everything." Failure of the additional levy means the agency will have to reevaluate programming.

"Some cuts will have to happen because we just don't have the funds currently," Adams said. "A lot of youth programs are on the table and those will be the first ones that we'll review." He noted that prevention and education programs may either be reduced or eliminated and added that clinical services also would be affected.

"There's no way we can avoid that," Adams said.

However, the director said he was grateful for support in the passage of the renewal.

"It was very gracious of the community to acknowledge the mental health community," he said.

The board funds more than 90 programs in eight agencies throughout the county, including Ravenwood Mental Health Center, Lake-Geauga Recovery Centers and WomenSafe.

In Chardon, a 5-mill fire levy combining a 4-mill renewal and 1- additional mill passed by an unofficial vote count of 1,351 to 1,187.

The levy will yield $741,571 per year and cost $141 per $100,000 property valuation, according to the Geauga County Auditor's Office.

Chardon Fire Chief Larry Gaspar said the levy money will be used to maintain services and a five-person staff at the station and to replace a 1999 rescue squad in 2015.

The department's current budget includes 3- to 4-percent pay raises, based on merit, for each of the next three years.

Increases in funding for the department have not been received in eight years.

Newbury Township voters approved a five-year, 1.9-mill replacement levy for streets, roads and bridges. The unofficial final vote was 1,613 to 1,351.

Township officials noted the levy was requested for maintenance purposes, including the rising cost of fuel and other materials, and neither new projects nor hiring were in the works.

About $322,499 will be generated and will cost taxpayers about $58.19 per $100,000 property valuation, according to the Geauga County Auditor's Office.

Meanwhile, Munson Township voters approved a 1-mill replacement fire levy for a continuing period of time by an unofficial final vote of 2,344 to 1,441.

___ (c)2012 The News-Herald (Willoughby, Ohio) Visit The News-Herald (Willoughby, Ohio) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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