Mahoning County Children's Services pleading with community to pass levy, or will have to reduce foster care
As election day approaches, voters who live in Mahoning County will see a replacement levy on the ballot that would generate more funding for foster care. Mahoning County Children's Services is pleading with the community to pass it, because the costs are suffocating them.
Executive Director Richard Tvaroch says the current levy isn't as effective as in years past.
"If you had a levy passed today that was bringing in ten dollars, twenty years from now, that levy would still bring in ten dollars but our expenses are now a hundred dollars," said Tvaroch.
Levies can never bring in more than the amount the voters approved. Originally, it was 1.85 mills but has since decreased to an estimated 1.60 mills.
The ever-changing economy and responsibility to care for 304 kids makes the need for this levy great. Some of that care includes trauma and abuse counseling, therapy and most importantly placement.
Tvaroch tells 21 News there are some kids that need to be placed into therapeutic-staffing homes to accommodate them better, but those cost more.
"At the beginning of the year, we budgeted $3.3 million to go towards the placement costs," said Tvaroch. "At the end of this year, we will probably cross $7 million dollars, so you're seeing more than a hundred percent increase in placement costs for our most needy children," he said.
The current levy costs taxpayers who own a $100,000 home $56 dollars a year. If the replacement levy were approved, that would increase to $64, about $8 more bucks a year.
Tvaroch says if the levy doesn't pass, the children will ultimately be the ones to suffer because the agency will have to get creative with the way they're providing care for them.
"It will talk about cuts, reduction of service quality," said Tvaroch. "Those kids need those placements, so we'll have to look at other where and there'll be a reduction in the quality of services the community may see in other areas," he said.