The Warren County Board of Developmental Disabilities will collect only 2.5 mills of the 4.0 mill operating levy voters approved by voters in 2002.
On Monday, the county board announced the rollback of the levy expected to reduce the amount collected by about $8 million in 2020. It is the third year the board has rolled back the levy.
“We passed this levy in 2002 and told the taxpayers we wouldn’t be back for more money for at least five years. 2020 will be the 18th year of this levy. We have not had to ask for more, and because of the strong fiscal stewardship of our agency, we are able to provide a reduction in the amount paid by taxpayers,” Superintendent Megan Manuel said.
The rollback of 1.5 mills saves property owners $46 per $100,000 of valuation, according to County Auditor Matt Nolan. It is carried out through the county budget commission and county commissioners.
“Even with the reduction in collections, we have been able to grow the services and supports we provide or fund, while maintaining a quality agency and staff,” Manuel added in a press release.
The Warren County Board of Developmental Disabilities supports more than 1,800 individuals with disabilities and their families through early intervention, employment, residential, service coordination, therapy and other support programs.
The levy was rolled back in 2018 after the commissioners raised the county sales tax to pay off the debt on a $57 million jail and $15 million sports complex.
Two Republicans, Tom Grossmann and Ron Maag, running for a county commission seat debated these moves.
“You can’t lower taxes on one hand and raise them on the other,” said Maag.
Grossmann said he voted against the sales tax hike for the jail debt and emphasized hotel and motel owners supporters the lodgings tax hike. He said the developmental disabilities levy had built up a $40 million reserve at the time.
“They didn’t need the money,” Grossmann said.
On Monday, Manuel said the additional levy was still unneeded.
“We do not wish to tax people beyond what our need is. This will be a year-to-year decision based upon our budget projections, support needs and carryover balance,” she said.
In 2012, the county ended three years with a 2-mill rollback of the developmental disabilities levy.
“Without the 2 mills, we’re going to have to look at the sustainability of the program,”Manuel said in June 2011. “In 2012, we’re going to have to review services and make cuts in non-mandated services.”
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