1. What does the Marion County Board of Developmental Disabilities Do?
The Marion County Board of Developmental Disabilities (MCBDD) serves approximately 800 individuals with disabilities in Marion County. Many persons receive services in more than one area. We provide support and resources in the following ways: Early Intervention, School Age Support, Community Integration, Employment Support, Service and Support Administration Services, Investigative Agent Services, Family Resources, Residential and Adult Day Service (ADS) Programs, and Special Olympics Programs.
2. Who receives services from MCBDD?
For someone to receive services, they must be under the age of 22 and be deemed eligible through an assessment process. The diagnoses vary and so do the levels of ability. Each person served is unique. MCBDD serves close to 800 people in the Marion County community annually. The ages of those we serve can start as early as birth and can last all the way through their lifetime. We currently have a two-month-old, an 81-year-old, and every age in between. A lot of life happens from birth to death and MCBDD is here to assist those we serve in leading the most independent, inclusive life possible. Our mission is to allow those we serve to live, learn, and earn in our community.
3. How are those services arranged?
MCBDD has Services and Support Administrators or SSAs that are put in place as an advocate and allies to help those served achieve their goals. The goals are set and outlined in a plan each year. The plan is referred to as an Individual Service Plan or an ISPs. An ISP is a collaborative effort of the team put together by the SSA and the person served to help them succeed, create goals, and get the necessary support to achieve the goals outlined in the plan. The team can include the person served, the MCBDD Service and Support Administrator, family members/caregivers, friends, providers, and additional community resources.
4. How does the Marion County Board of DD maintain fiscal responsibility?
MCBDD is fortunate enough to receive funding from the Federal Government (Medicaid), as well as state, and local (levy) dollars.
- MCBDD draws in $1.50 in federal dollars for every $1 of local money for all services funded through a waiver. We have refinanced adult services that have saved money and helped us draw these federal dollars.
- We have had a thorough review of our operations by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) and the Ohio Association of County Boards (OACB) to ensure our organization, our finances, and our future are fiscally and operationally sound.
- We collaborate with agencies in Marion County to help the people we serve access resources and services in the most cost-effective manner.
- Our community has assisted through donations and grants to MCBDD. The Knights of Columbus fundraises to help support our Special Olympics programs. And Marion Rotary Club, Marion Community Foundation, and the United Way have all assisted by granting MCBDD funds for various programs and services. We are grateful and appreciate this type of commitment to those we serve.
- Reduced our operational overhead by 47,000 square feet of facility space by selling two buildings. Renovated one facility to encompass entire staff for the first time in our history. The cost of this renovation will be recouped with seven years creating a long-term cost savings to our operating budget. Having entire staff under one roof also creates a more effective, cohesive work environment for staff and those serve.
6. What is the levy money going to pay for?
MCBDD has four levies. Three levies are strictly used for operational purposes. This means it funds the overall operation of our services. These are the dollars used to directly support those in our community with developmental disabilities. Based on available resources, MCBDD may provide, or arrange for, service and support administration (SSA services), early childhood services, supported living/residential services, family support, employment services, Special Olympics, assistive technology, remote supports, and many others. In 2021 alone, our organization linked those served with over 836,300 connections to resources and support.
The fourth levy is a capital levy. This levy pays for the infrastructure which includes facilities, maintenance, and general upkeep of the grounds and buildings.
Only two of our levies continue to be on the ballot, one of each type listed above. They are either renewed or replaced every five years (replaced in 2020 for operating, and a requested renewal in 2022 for capital). The renewals/replacements go toward funding for the continuation of existing services for those in our community with developmental disabilities and cover the increased costs of providing these services. Our hope is that we can continue to evaluate our funds, cut costs when we can, and still provide services and support to allow those we serve with a more fulfilling, independent, and inclusive life.
The funding provided to MCBDD is the primary means of supporting individuals with developmental disabilities (DD) within our community. These are essential services that keep individuals with DD living in our community instead of an institution. The County Board of DD has demonstrated extreme fiscal responsibility by maximizing every local dollar, collecting $1.50 on every waiver dollar, and receiving state subsidies. Going without a “raise” for 24 years while all costs continue to climb is very difficult to do but MCBDD has managed to exist despite this reality. We have come to the point of hurt and frustration for those served and community support is important to help your neighbor live, learn, and earn in our community with their developmental disabilities.
7. What levies does the County Board of DD currently have and what are they for? At what rate do you collect from property owners?
Here’s a screenshot of the types of MCBDD levies and what we are currently collecting. As you can see, as the levies age, we do not collect at today’s effective rate, but at the rate of the year, they were passed. Because of this, they lose value over time and they do not increase with the cost of doing business (inflation). We also do not collect at 100 percent but at a lower rate than the approved levy because of delinquent property taxes, vacant homes, etc. It is also important to note that the Capital levy funds can only be used for maintenance, facility improvements, and upkeep.
8. I’m on a fixed income and can’t afford an increase in my taxes.
You may still be able to support the work of the County Board of DD and reduce your taxes. If you’re 65 years old or older, you may qualify for the “Senior Homestead Exemption.” If eligible, you may qualify for an exemption of the first $25,000 of your home’s taxable value. Your annual income must be less than $30,000 – (that figure could be adjusted each year to reflect inflation). Click here to review the application and learn more.
There are also disabled and veteran exemptions that can be pursued. Contact your local tax assessor for complete details on property tax exemptions.
9. Since you have a “carryover” at the end of the year, why do you need to renew or replace levies?
The term “carryover” at the auditor’s office would assume that this is money that we simply have “sitting around.” The carryover is actually taxes that have been collected and are earmarked to pay current obligations until we receive our next tax collection (typically collected about March and August). This is similar to how most families manage their checking account— you hang on to funds to be used for bills and upcoming expenses and need to keep a balance in that account for that purpose.
10. Do you still serve children even though you closed the Marca School?
Yes. The Marca school naturally dissolved years ago because parents wanted the opportunity for inclusion and diversity within our city and county schools. The funding previously received by MCBDD for educating those children followed them to their local school districts to receive services in a more inclusive environment. We currently serve close to 236 school-age children through service support administration (SSA) services and providing supplemental support outside of school.
11. Why are administrative costs so high?
This is a myth. Statewide studies have indicated that MCBDD salaries are in the average range of salaries for similar positions. Salaries are determined based on a number of factors including a statewide-suggested scale, education, years of experience, and performance. There are state and federal funds specifically allocated to offset salary and benefit costs. For example, our Superintendent’s salary is funded at a level of 72% state and federal dollars. The role of the County Board of DD is to administer, coordinate, and locate resources so the administrative salaries reflect that role. The bulk of your local dollars do not go toward salaries, they go toward services for those in the community with Developmental Disabilities.