CANTON — Stark County commissioners voted Wednesday to place a five-year, 1.4-mill replacement levy for county Children Services on the November ballot.

If approved, it would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an estimated $13.56 more a year than the current levy, which is set to expire next year.

The Stark County Auditor’s Office says it would raise $11.67 million a year, an increase of about $1.95 million from the current levy’s 2018 revenue of $9.71 million.

The commissioners on July 10 approved a resolution declaring the replacement levy necessary “for the purpose of providing for the support of children services and the care and placement of abused, neglected and dependent children.”

They requested that the Stark County auditor certify the total taxable property valuation of the county, which it did at $8.33 billion. The vote was a first step to place it on the ballot and the vote Wednesday, while a formality, legally submitted the issue to the Stark County Board of Elections.

The levy, which has existed since 1990 and was last hiked in 2005, funds much of the operations of the Children Services Division of the Stark County Department of Job and Family Services. The division’s budget is about $23 million to $24 million.

Children Services investigates reports of child abuse and neglect and with Family Court approval takes custody of abused and neglected children. The division places children with people it has recruited to serve as foster parents, facilitates adoptions and places children with relatives. Children Services staff also monitor the progress of parents who’ve lost custody of children in fulfilling conditions to win back custody and teaches independent life skills to older teens.

Department officials say the loss of a federal grant and the increasing neglect of children due to the opioid epidemic are among the reasons for seeking the increase.

 

Reach Repository writer Robert Wang at (330) 580-8327 or robert.wang@cantonrep.com.