Dear Editor:

I read your article in which you described how the commissioners were brow beaten by the Developmental Disabilities (DD) board, staff, and advocates into allowing the board to place a fourth tax levy on the November ballot.

I followed this up by getting a copy of the ballot language, reviewing the board’s levy support literature, and talking to Auditor Ken Wilson and the commissioners.

I learned several things from these endeavors. I discovered that the seven member DD board consists of five members appointed by the county commissioners to represent the citizens of Hocking County; the board still has a close working relationship with the private Hocking Valley Industries (HVI); if the new levy passes it can be used to buy and refurbish facilities; the total property tax cost of the four levies will be $156.71 for each $100,000 of property value; the DD board serves 166 adult and 96 child clients, many of whom receive social security, medicare and/or are educated by our public school system.

The board’s approximately $3,000,000 budget would provide roughly $12,000 per client. Since the DD board and the commissioners represent the taxpayers, I think they should have a public meeting to answer the following questions: Was the race card used to get the commissioner to approve putting the levy on the ballot? Will any of the levy monies be used on the private HVI church property?

How many paid employees does the board have, and what are their individual salaries?

What percentage of the board’s money is used for staff wages and benefits?

Mike Nihiser

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