LIMA — Allen County Children Services is seeking to renew a 0.5 mill levy in the upcoming November election, one of two levies it currently has on the books.
Executive director Cynthia Scanland met with Allen County commissioners Thursday to discuss the levy and alert them that the agency would seek a renewal.
“There are two meetings required to place the renewal on the ballot,” Scanland said. “There’s a resolution to make a request to the county auditor to certify the amount of millage, and that’s what this was, and a resolution of ordinance to proceed with the board of elections.”
The five-year levy, originally passed in 1996 and replaced in 2006, with renewals in 2001 and 2011, is not set to expire until 2016, but the agency wants to ensure that the funding will remain in place in the future, especially given the lack of funding at the state level.
“The budget the governor signed decimated us,” Scanland said. “Children Services got zero.”
This levy brings in just over $854,000 a year. Both levies combine to make up just under half of the agency’s budget. With costs of reporting child abuse as well as placement of foster children going up, having levy funding in hand is essential to maintaining the agency’s finances.
“The one thing that’s significant about levy monies is that it’s flexible,” Scanland said. “We don’t need any match to be able to use it. What we use levy money for is as match money to pull down federal and state money. They both require match money, which means that if they’re going to give us 60 percent for something, we have to come up with the 40 percent.”
Both Commissioners Jay Begg and Cory Noonan were grateful for the work done in the past to make the agency’s levies a reality.
“We wouldn’t be able to fund it at this level,” Begg said. “That would mean a loss of services.”
“I think the voters understand the service you provide,” Noonan said to Scanland during the meeting.
Scanland hopes to have the renewal approved for the ballot before the Aug. 5 deadline to file with the board of elections.Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.