Support those with developmental disabilities

By Nancy Foglesong - Guest Columnist

We are very disappointed that we fell short of the votes needed to pass this levy and we do understand these uncertain times are challenging for everyone. We ask community members to please take time to share your support of the individuals and families with developmental disabilities in other ways so they know you care.

The holidays are a great time to do acts of kindness. We know the work done every day by the county board staff and all the residential, community and transportation service providers we financially support is important, even more so during challenging times, and we know these services are truly valued by our community.

With the loss of two 5-year levies 20 years ago, we do not have renewable levies and can only ask for additional funds to replace those lost. These funds are necessary to address the personal needs of people of with developmental disabilities, not just to fund optional programs or services. Without sufficient local tax revenue, we cannot bring back the federal Medicaid waiver funding to Morrow County that averages around 60% of the cost and allows us to provide vital supports to residents who are in need of crucial services.

Since the failure of those two tax levies, we have to make difficult decisions as we face the reality that we cannot offer supports to everyone in need. We developed a very lean operation model years ago, which has been maintained to allow the greatest amount of funding to be directed to those with the most critical needs.

The compounded effect of years of insufficient funding means locally funded services are greatly reduced to ensure the local match that is required for Medicaid funded services is sustained. We have reached the limit of our funding and without a new levy, we will continue to face difficult choices of who gets services and who must face further delays.

It is important to understand that County Boards must forecast and plan when additional funds are needed. We knew 10 years ago we would need these funds, even with the passage of the increase in levy funding in 2014, because we had lost the millage from those two levies, which left us well below the average for similar counties.

The aging population continues to be a great concern as well as the families who need Early Intervention services and the families who have children in school planning for their adult lives. Each person with developmental disabilities, regardless of where they are in their lifespan, can benefit from desperately needed supports to help them have similar opportunities for a meaningful life.

Our Board and leadership staff will evaluate the levy results in conjunction with our forecast and determine our next steps. We not only welcome input from our community, we truly need it. We want everyone to know we will strengthen our efforts but we really need the strength of our community to help us. Communication is vital so people understand the true need, how the county board operates and how it is funded. We need everyone’s help to share the facts so no question goes unanswered. Please join us as we strive to bring the same opportunities to Morrow County that are available in other counties that have sufficient local funding.

With sincerity, we share our gratitude to those who continue to support people with developmental disabilities and to everyone who made their voice heard in this election during these challenging times.

By Nancy Foglesong

Guest Columnist

Nancy Foglesong is Superintendent, Morrow County Board of DD.

Nancy Foglesong is Superintendent, Morrow County Board of DD.