Summit County voters OK Children Services renewal levy

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by Scott Shriner | RPC Associate Editor Summit County voters Nov. 6 overwhelmingly favored Issue 73, a renewal levy for Children Services. The 2.25-mill, 6-year measure garnered 168,431 votes in favor (68.5 percent) to 77,493 votes against (31.5 percent), according to final but unofficial results from the county's elections board. "I am very pleased that the voters of Summit County showed their strong support of Summit County Children Services and the very important work we do by passing our renewal levy," Executive Director John Saros said. "This decisive victory would not have been possible without the help of an effective and very committed group of volunteers from the community and from our staff. "I want to thank all of our campaign volunteers, especially those staff members who stepped up and gave of their time to help the agency pass this critically important levy, and I want to sincerely thank our community for this very strong 'vote of confidence' for our agency and for the children and families of Summit County." Children Services' current levy, passed in 2007, expires at the end of next year. The renewal levy will begin collecting in January 2014 and will raise approximately $26 million annually for six years, agency officials said. The levy will continue to cost the owner of a $100,000 home $5.75 per month. It accounts for approximately 60 percent of the agency's operating budget. One of the main expenses the levy pays for is placement costs for children, which are about $9 million a year, according to Saros. Salaries for the agency's 335 employees are also paid for by the levy. Each worker handles between eight and 12 cases at a time, Saros said. Due to lessening state funds, the agency has reduced its budget and staff over the past few years, and passage of the renewal was needed to stop more cuts from happening, he said. The agency is charged with protecting children from abuse and neglect, and also specializes in helping children find permanent families through adoption and foster care. E-mail: sshriner@recordpub.com Phone: 330-541-9426

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