The consequences of mental illnesses, alcohol and drug addictions touch everyone directly or indirectly, often disrupting individual and family life or school, work and social relationships. When residents have to deal with these challenges, they can expect appropriate professional assistance from the extensive network of contracted services funded by the Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board.
The board, ADM, is on the Nov. 5 ballot, seeking to renew an existing levy for six years. Issue 1 is crucial to the board’s — and Summit County’s — ability to maintain a solid floor of support for residents when they require treatment and preventive services to combat mental illnesses and addictions. The unfortunate reality is that the need for these services is growing with increased awareness of the toll on mental health from such factors as the opiate epidemic, bullying among adolescents and maternal depression.
At 2.95 mills, the levy yields about $33 million a year. Property taxes will not increase, the owner of a house valued at $100,000 continuing to pay $7.50 a month. The revenue accounts for 78 percent of the board’s operating budget.
We recommend a vote for Issue 1.
This locally generated tax revenue continues to grow as a share of the agency’s operations. Reductions in Medicaid allocations and other policy changes have reduced state and federal funding. Welcome as they are, the increases in the current state budget are not large enough to make up for the revenue losses in recent years.
Maintaining the flow of local funds is crucial for another reason: The money gives ADM flexibility to invest in a range of services (for example, transportation and residential programs for drug and alcohol addiction) that are not reimbursed even though they are essential to keep clients stabilized and enhance their productivity.
About 50,000 adults and children a year rely on ADM, among other things, for 24-hour crisis intervention, treatment and prevention services, a suicide prevention hotline, crisis intervention training for law enforcement officers and community education on mental health and addictions. With partners such as the Northeast Ohio Medical University, the agency is engaged also in research and training to ensure the efficacy and cost effectiveness of its treatment and prevention programs. Approving Issue 1 will secure the funding for ADM to maintain and enhance its critical role for residents.