1. Have cost increased for MCBDD?
State-mandated rates have caused an increased cost to the Marion County Board of DD in several areas. Here are a few recent examples:
- Due to the pandemic, adult day service (ADS) programs have increased from 40 dollars per day to 120 dollars per day. Beyond this, many of those served with critical needs are staying home to ensure their safety. While we are committed to providing care in the best form possible, this has skyrocketed MCBDD cost (going from $120 per day in ADS programming to $22.40 per hour).
- We are proud to announce that those who provide direct support (direct support professionals or DSPs) have rightfully been awarded a wage increase. It is well deserved and we fully support it, but this state-mandated increase means a 1.1 million dollar annual impact to our local County Board of DD budget to fulfill the DSP wage increase.
- In total, MCBDD will see waiver funding increase by 30% as a result of the direct support providers’ wage increase and a state-mandated transportation service increase.
2. Has the need for MCBDD services grown?
Yes, very much so. In the past five years, we have experienced the following growth:
- The number of Individual Service Plans (ISPs) increased from 316 to 416 or 100 plans (these are people who received at least monthly contact and case management). An ISP is a collaborative effort of the team of those served to help them succeed, create goals, and get the necessary support to achieve the goals in the plan that the team organizes together. The team includes the person served, the MCBDD Service and Support Administrator, family members/caregivers, providers, and additional community resources.
- The number of people receiving services through a waiver increased from 141 to 188 people (a net gain of 47). A waiver is simply a funding source to help offset the cost of services. For every $1 of local funds, waivers will receive a $1.50 from the federal government to assist with funding. Not all individuals are eligible to receive a waiver and out of the roughly 800 people served annually, only 200 are currently receiving waiver support.
- The number of service providers increased from 27 to 51 (24 additional independent providers or agencies). This nearly doubled the amount of time staff is required to spend on service provider compliance reviews.
3. What steps have Marion County Board DD taken to be more cost-efficient?
From 2006 to 2010, MCBDD cut $9 million in expenses over that 5-year period by reducing spending on local therapies, maximizing other sources of funding, and minimizing every possible expense. We have lived off of reserves and maintained services since that time despite community support. Cuts made in 2018 include the removal of spouses from our health insurance and the absorption of two positions instead of hiring replacements. MCBDD made additional cuts in 2019 that will save 14 million dollars over the next ten years. Cuts included two administrative positions and eight additional positions eliminated from MCBDD with two new positions being created at a support level to redistribute and reorganize the work as well as reduce costs.
The County Board of DD has requested new levy funds on 14 occasions and each of the new money requests has failed. We are now up for our usual 1996 renewal and are requesting that be replaced with the same millage at the 2020 tax rate.
ADDITIONAL COST SAVINGS NOTES:
- In 2014, the average waiver cost (to support an individual living in the community instead of an institutional setting) was $63,900. To date, that cost has been reduced to an average of $58,500 (a decrease of $5,400 per person). The savings are due to better assessing the true needs of the person as well as taking advantage of innovative resources such as remote monitoring, shared services, and more independent living.
- Early Intervention Services (which serves children from birth to three years of age) is a 90 percent locally funded program. Of those served in this age group, only fifty percent received additional support from MCBDD beyond three years old. This means that half of those served through the EI programs do not end up in our system for life. This is a wonderful investment at an age that is critical for growth, development, and progress. We want to point out that if services are needed beyond age three, the city and county schools often take over support through school-age years. In some instances, the person served may come back to MCBDD for supports during adulthood or if the need exceeds the school’s funding model, we still mutually support that child. We currently mutually serve 187 school-age children.
4. How will the latest round of cuts affect the people served with developmental disabilities?
The transition for those we serve is the number one priority and we will handle each person served with respect, sensitivity, and the best opportunities for them to continue to grow, reach their goals, and thrive in their community.
Make no mistake that they are feeling the strain of our support and budget cuts. Things like therapies, transportation, respite, and home modifications are not always funded and the County Board has been forced to focus on the most severe cases leaving many families who need and deserve help fending for themselves. It is important to note that our SSAs are tirelessly working with over 400 people on our caseload to find and organize resources. In fact, MCBDD SSAs report over 40,000 connections to resources and support annually.
We are grateful that our partner providers have picked up some of the broken pieces through Community Integration and Community Employment.
The total 2019 cuts equaled around $1,400,000 annually so it is impossible for our families and people served to not feel the hurt of the cuts.
5. What attempts have been made to increase revenues from other sources?
- MCBDD draws in $1.50 in federal dollars for every $1 of local money for all services funded through a waiver. We have refinanced services that have saved money and helped us draw these federal dollars.
- MCBDD has maximized state funding during our financial hardship.
- We completed a thorough review of our operations with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities and the Ohio Association of County Boards to audit our organization, our finances, and our future. Those organizations supplied recommendations and input that were beneficial in assisting us with our cuts and future plan.
- 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 fundraisers; namely, the United Way and Marion Community Foundation. We appreciate this type of commitment to those we serve.
6. How many individuals do you serve?
We serve approximately 800 individuals with disabilities. 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 (SSA) Services, Investigative Agent Services, family resources, residential and day program services support, and Special Olympics programs.
7. What is the levy money going to pay for?
It is going to pay for the continuation of existing services for those served and cover the increased costs of providing these services. Our hope is that we can continue to cut costs in areas that will allow us to add services back into the lives of those we serve allowing them a more fulfilling, inclusive life.
It has been 24 years since MCBDD has received new money from the voters of Marion County. Renewals have been passed successfully (Thank You!).
8. 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 provided by the County Auditor. It shows 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, and facility improvements and upkeep.
9. What is the levy request of the Marion County Board of DD in the November 2020 election?
As you can see from the chart in #8, the 1996 operating levy is due for renewal this November of 2020. The renewal has been on the ballot 4 prior times and has passed each time (Thank you, Marion County). MCBDD is asking that the community replace this 1996 levy to today’s value. The millage in the request remains the same and brings the effective rate up to today’s value.
On a 100,000-dollar home, your current property taxes for the MCBDD 1996 3 mill levy is $49.15
On a 100,000-dollar home with a 3-mill replacement levy, your new property tax rate for the MCBDD 2021 3 mill levy would be 105 dollars even which is an increase of $55.85 annually.
That is 15 cents per day or $4.65 per month.
You will still see four entries under MCBDD. Refer to chart #8 to see how they will be listed. The replacement levy will replace the 1996 listing in the future and appear as a 2021 levy with renewals every five years thereafter.
10. How are tax dollars used for MCBDD:
The funding provided by 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 subsidy. Despite inflation over the last 24 years, we are still operating at a 1996 tax rate. That rate does not go up with the rate of inflation even though our costs continue to climb. MCBDD has managed to exist despite this reality because of cuts to vital services. We have come to the point of hurt and frustration for those served. Community support is important and necessary to help your neighbor live, learn, and earn in Marion County with their developmental disabilities.
11. I’m on a fixed income and can’t afford an increase in my taxes.
We understand. It is safe to say that we all need to live within our means. The County Board is no exception. We are on a fixed income as well.
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 $60,000 or 60% of your home’s taxable value – whichever is greater. Your annual income must be less than $33,800 – (that figure could be adjusted each year to reflect inflation).
There are also disabled and veteran exemptions that can be pursued. Contact your local tax assessor for complete details on property tax exemptions.
12. Since you have a “carryover” at the end of the year, why do you need another levy?
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.
13. Do you still serve children even though you closed the Marca School?
Marca school dissolved naturally 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 home school to receive services in a more inclusive environment. Even though the funding went to the schools, MCBDD currently serves close to 200 school-age children. We help with things like additional therapies, assistive technology, camps, summer programming, and other support. We love that our city and county schools have embraced all children in Marion County and appreciate the partnerships we have.
14. Why are administrative costs so high?
This is a myth. Statewide studies have indicated that our 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 88% state and federal dollars. Local Marion County tax dollars only cover a little over 19,000 for this salary. The additional administrative salaries equate to only 3% of our overall budget spending. 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.