Summit County voters overwhelmingly approved three countywide issues Tuesday, with requests from the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board, the parks district and the Akron Zoo all winning easily.
All three are renewal levies and do not involve tax increases.
The renewal levy for ADM, Issue 1, is a six-year, 2.95 mill levy, which collects $32.6 million a year. It will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $90 a year. It provides 75 percent of the agency’s operating levy.
The ADM board contracts with 27 local agencies to provide services for adults, teens and children with mental illness, alcohol and drug addictions. About 50,000 adults and children a year rely on ADM.
Agency personnel watched levy results at the Urban League with a crowd of nearly 100 people.
“We’re thrilled that the community endorsed our services and programs,” director Jerry Craig said. “It was a community effort with our employees, partner agencies and volunteers. We had a lot of support.
“We will make sure our services stay strong.”
Issue 2, for Metro Parks, Serving Summit County, is a seven-year, 1.46 mill levy. It is estimated to collect $15.8 million a year and costs owners of a $100,000 home about $45 a year.
The levy will provide funding for operations, maintenance and capital needs for the district’s 14 park sites and 125 miles of trails for the next seven years.
Since the levy last was renewed in 2006, Metro Parks successfully completed the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail and the renovation of the Visitor Center at the F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm. Those were the campaign promises made in 2006.
Issue 3, for the Akron Zoo, is a seven-year, 0.8 mill levy that will collect $8 million a year. It costs owners of a $100,000 home about $23 annually.
The levy provides about 50 percent of the zoo’s operating funds, with the balance coming from fundraising and income from admission fees and sales.
The zoo campaigned with the simple message that it has delivered on all its promises.
President and Chief Executive Officer Pat Simmons said the general public wanted the zoo to expand, and it has fulfilled that goal. The zoo boasts 23 more animal exhibits and three times as many animals on display than in 2000, when the zoo sought its first levy. Some of the exhibits include Penguin Point, Legends of the Wild, Journey to the Reef and the most recent, the $12 million Grizzly Ridge with bears, red wolves and coyotes.
Simmons said there is still room to grow because only 35 acres of the 50-acre zoo property are developed.
In Portage County, two renewal levies for the Board of Developmental Disabilities passed with about 70 percent voter approval.
Issue 1 will collect 2 mills through 2018. Issue 2 will collect 0.9 mills through 2023. The cost to a homeowner of a $100,000 property for the combined levies is about $57 a year.
The levies account for about one-third of the agency’s operating revenue.
A countywide mental health levy in Portage County also passed with about 70 percent of voters in favor.
Marilyn Miller can be reached at 330-996-3098 or firstname.lastname@example.org.