Greene County voters to decide three levies

Greene County residents will cast their vote in November on three county-wide renewal levies that would benefit the sick, the disabled and children.

A .50-mill renewal levy for Greene Memorial Hospital is expected to generate $1.6 million, according to data from the county auditor’s office. If renewed, the levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $13.71 per year.

The levy renewal on the ballot is one of two .50-mill levies that fund hospital operations. Last year, they generated $3.4 million — a 3 percent increase over $3.3 million generated in 2009, according to data from the county auditor.

“Issue 4 supports vital health care provided by Greene Memorial Hospital, including operating expenses and equipment purchases serving cancer care services, emergency services, women’s health services and nursing services,” said Elizabeth Long, a spokeswoman for Kettering Health Network, in a written statement.

Greene Memorial, which was previously owned by the county, became affiliated with Kettering Health in 2008.

Earlier this year, county commissioners voted to put the renewal on the ballot. Tom Koogler, a county commissioner, said he wanted to give residents the the opportunity to decide whether to fund the hospital.

“Whether I’m for it or against is irrelevant,” Koogler said. “It’s up to the voters to decide. It’s their county. Their hospital. They need to decide. That’s how government works.”

The health network did not respond to requests for information on Greene Memorial Hospital revenues, expenses or copies of annual reports for 2011 and 2012.

Bill Taylor, a 56-year-old resident, questioned why county taxpayers were continuing to fund the hospital which is now privately owned.

“If the levy is a good thing, I’ll vote for it, but I can’t get the answers to my questions,” he said. “Without the answers, I’m voting no.”

Children services

Voters will also decide whether to renew a 1.5-mill Greene County Children Services levy which is expected to annually generate $5.4 million, according to the county auditor.

If voters approve, the levy would be renewed for another five years and would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $45.94 each year.

Greene County Jobs and Family Services Director Beth Rubin said, in a previous interview, the funds would help cover projected increases in expenses such as fuel, utilities and health insurance for the children services agency.

County commissioners merged children services with jobs and family services in November, however, children services does not receive county general fund money, according to the county administrator.

Developmental disabilities

A 3.5-mill levy renewal on the ballot will fund Greene County Board of Developmental Disabilities operations. The levy renewal is expected to generate $11.6 million annually, according to the county auditor. The owner of a $100,000 home would annually pay $95.99.

The levy accounts for more than 80 percent of the board’s budget, said John LaRoack, the Greene County Board of Developmental Disabilities superintendent.

Last year, the agency filled 3,000 request for services, LaRock said.

“Our population continues to grow,” said John LaRock, director of the Greene County Board of Developmental Disabilities. “During the last five-year levy cycle, our request for services went up about 45 percent.”

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