Renewal levy for children on Nov. ballot

LISBON – Columbiana County commissioners approved on Wednesday the placement on the November ballot of a renewal levy, which helps support the abused and neglected children being served by the local department of Jobs and Family Services.

Eileen Dray-Bardon, director of the county JFS, said there are currently 67 children in the custody of the county’s programs, children removed by the courts and placed in either foster care or group homes depending on their particular circumstances. Most of the money for their care comes from the levy.

In 2009, the same 0.75-mill levy passed by a margin of 60.5 percent to 39.5 percent when a five-year-renewal was sought. That was after the JFS was turned down by voters in two previous attempts for a new levy, which would have generated more money.

Dray-Bardon said on Wednesday the current levy generates about $960,000, which is only used for the care of children. The levy is not used to cover operational costs of the JFS. She noted it covers most of the county’s share for what is needed for the care of the children, but the department utilizes some flexible state funds to make up the difference.

A renewal levy does not increase taxes.

In another matter, Dray-Bardon informed commissioners that because of the transfer in unused funds

from two other county programs, the 2014 Summer Youth Employment Program now has an additional $305,204 for this year’s program, which provides summer jobs to low-income youth. The original service agreement between the JFS and Callos Management Co. called for the processing of wage subsidies in the amount of $427,001.

However, with more local youth participating, Dray-Bardon said it will now be possible for the program to spend up to $732,205 this year.

The county was able to obtain $100,000 in unused funds from Knox County and $200,000 from Wood County. Additionally, the state redistributed $5,204 to help cover the operational costs.

Commissioners approved the amendment to the agreement with Callos.

Finally, the commissioners approved an additional $889 for the cleaning of chairs at the JFS. Dray-Bardon said their current cleaning service has agreed to clean the chairs once a year at a cost of $1.83 per chair. The department has more than 400 chairs.