EATON —The Preble County Commissioners decided to move forward with a tax levy for Children Services funds on the November ballot during a regular session on Wednesday, July 22.
Commissioners voted to determine it necessary to place the children services tax levy on the ballot in a 2-1 vote. Commissioners Chris Day and Rodney Creech voted in favor of placing the levy on the ballot while Commissioner Denise Robertson voted against it.
“I’m not okay with raising people’s taxes,” Robertson said. She continued by saying she felt giving Children Services this money gave them no incentive to look for cost saving measures in the future.
In supporting the levy, Commissioner Day said the board is forced to supplement more money to Children Services each year due to the rising costs in caring for children in the custody of Children Services.
Day noted, commissioners have supplemented more than $100,000 from the general fund for this cause each year since he has been in office.
Robertson pointed out the money from the general fund being supplemented is money paid for by taxes, referring to the general fund as “the people’s money.”
Creech added: “I say we put it before the people, we have a lot of expenses coming we are paying for out of the general fund — if bad times hit we’ll be cutting services people use every day, so I think we should let the people decide.”
The levy would raise $549,000 for Children Services. In a previous interview Becky Sorrell, who is Director of Preble County JFS, explained how the money would be used. “The Children Services levy money is solely for the care and housing of children in Children Services custody. It does not cover salaries, agency building costs, or administrative fees. It helps pay the cost of providing safe housing for abused, neglected, and dependent children in foster homes or other alternative housing.”
Currently county residents pay two taxes implemented in 1976 and 1979, which uses property values from 1982 at a rate of $14 per $100,000 valuation of property owned each year.
Sorrell asked commissioners to consider the replacement levy which would increase the amount being paid to $28 per $100,000 using current property values.
Sorrell said in a past meeting an increase in the money being received could possibly eliminate the need for a third levy from 1989, which brings down the total paid to $21/$100,000 if a renewal is not needed for the 1989 levy.
Sorrell said $549,000 of what the levy will raise would support the cost of child placement in the county for 10 months instead of the current rate of four months.
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or [email protected]