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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Issue 3 - Tax Levy (Renewal) - Hamilton County – Mental Health Services

A renewal of a tax for the benefit of the County of Hamilton, Ohio, for the purpose of supplementing the general fund to provide funds for the alcohol, drug addiction and mental health services district for the operation of mental health programs and the acquisition, construction, renovation, financing, maintenance and operation of mental health facilities at a rate not exceeding two and ninety-nine hundredths (2.99) mills for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to twenty-nine and nine-tenths cents ($0.299) for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for five (5) years, commencing in 2017, first due in calendar year 2018. FOR THE TAX LEVY  AGAINST THE TAX LEVYISSSUE BACKGROUND: The MHRSB is the product of the 2006 merger of two prior boards: the Mental Health Board and the Board of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ADAS). MHRSB is governed by a 14-member board of trustees,eight of whom are appointed by the Hamilton County Commissioners and six by the Director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.A consultant was hired by the County to review the MHRSB’s operation and use of Mental Health Levy funds. The current Mental Health Levy Funds accounted for approximately $174 million of the MHRSB revenues during the levy period 2013-2017. By year-end 2017 it is anticipated the levy reserve will have grown to approximately $22.3 million.While overall funding for MHRSB has varied during the levy period due to changes in other revenue sources, levy money has been fairly consistent. In some years, MHRSB was forced to reduce expenditures, which involved reducing provider contracts. Since 2015,expenditures have increased and in 2017 may surpass 2013 expenditures. This increase in expenditures has been absorbed via the levy fund balance. MHRSB’s levy renewal request asks for no increase in funding. It does allow for a 3 % annual increase to salaries and benefits,plus a small one-time adjustment to provider contracts in the third year of the levy which would increase expenditures by about $3.1 million over the levy period. All other sources and uses of funds are projected to remain constant. Overall, MHRSB would spend down much of the current levy balance, taking it to$5.5 million.Changes and/or replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and potential changes to Ohio’s Medicaid program could impact insurance coverage. Ohio’s redesign of behavioral health services, moving to managed care arrangements, will require local resources to revise management and data systems. Any of these changes could increase the need for local funding support for mental health services.As of 2012, Ohio Medicaid-funded programs for mental health services are administered by the Ohio Department of Mental Health. Changes to the Ohio Medicaid program could shift state funding priorities and increase reliance on local funds to cover the needs of uninsured and underinsured individuals. MHRSB attempts to ensure that levy funding is never used to pay for services that can be reimbursed with Medicaid funds.The Tax Levy Review Committee (TLRC) reviewed the Mental Health levy and recommended renewal with no increase in funding. The TLRC found that the MHRSB has been a good steward over the monies provided to it through levy funds, and has tried within its means to provide the best service, at the best cost, with the maximum impact to consumers of its contracted agencies funded through the levy. MHRSB is anticipating a funding deficit and will need to use up to $16.8 million of its levy fund balance to support the Board’s future costs within the upcoming levy cycle. The TLRC agreed with the consultant’s recommendation that the MHRSB must be vigilant in monitoring its use of levy carry over funds within the next budget cycle in order to maintain adequate reserves.
  • Yes - For the Tax Levy

  • No - Against the Tax Levy

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