1. 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 432 or 116 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 187 people (a net gain of 46). 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 49 (22 additional individuals or agencies). This nearly doubled the amount of time staff is required to spend on service provider compliance reviews.
2. 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.
Because of our 13th defeat for new levy funds in the November 2019 election, the County Board has made additional cuts. Ten positions were eliminated from MCBDD with two new positions being created at a support level to redistribute and reorganize the work. These changes minimized our ask from 2.95 to 1.7 mill over a ten year period.
ADDITIONAL COST SAVINGS NOTE:
- 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 $56,000 (a decrease of $7,900 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 100 percent locally-funded program. Of those served in this age group, only fifty percent has 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.
3. 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 to provide support leaving our families who need and deserve help fending for themselves.
We are grateful that our partner providers have picked up some of the broken pieces through Community Integration and Community Employment.
The total 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.
4. 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 adult services that have saved money and helped us draw these federal dollars.
- We reached out to the state for additional funding because of our financial hardship and we have received additional short-term support from the state.
- We have completed a thorough review of our operations by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities and the Ohio Association of County Boards to review 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 raised $12,200 toward funding camps for those with developmental disabilities. We appreciate this type of commitment to those we serve.
5. 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, and Employment Support, Service and Support Administration Services, Investigative Agent Services, Family Resources, Residential and Day Program Services Support, and Special Olympics Programs.
6. 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!).
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?
8. 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. 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.
9. 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 $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).
There are also disabled and veteran exemptions that can be pursued. Contact your local tax assessor for complete details on property tax exemptions.
10. 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.
11. 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 200 school age children through sharing resources and providing service support administration.
13. How much more per year will this levy cost me?
For a $100,000 home, your taxes would only increase by approximately $59 per year, less than five dollars per month, or 16 cents per day.
16. 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 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.