LOGAN — The Hocking County Board of Developmental Disabilities (HCBDD) Superintendent, Jill Squires and Director of Finance, Karon Fisher addressed the Hocking County Commissioners with an update on the former Green Elementary School that currently houses Hocking Valley Industries (HVI) as well as gave an update on the annual budget of the HCBBD.
At the meeting, discussion took place about the possible solutions for the building owned by HCBDD. Commissioner Jeff Dickerson commented that he just recently became aware of an individual who may be interested in obtaining the building.
Squires was very interested in hearing that there could be some interest. She also shared that they could consider selling it or housing other providers of DD services who would lease the space from HCBDD.
Commissioner’s Sandra Ogle and Dickerson agreed that discussion will continue at a regular session meeting next week about the future of the building, located at 15663 state Route 595 after HVI vacates the property.
Squires continued with a specific review of the annual budget, which showed a negative balance at the end of the year, depending on the outcome of Green Elementary and a potential November levy.
The intention is to put a 1.5 mill levy on the ballot in November, pending approval, to bring in the needed $992,000. The funds would continue operation as it currently is without excessive cuts.
“There has been no levy placed on the ballot for 10 years,” according to Fisher.
If the levy does not pass, there will have to be cuts to the current operation.
Squires gave the specific areas in jeopardy. The drastic changes would be, no funding for 11 people to attend HVI, cuts in funding for home modifications and family assistance, the elimination of therapies, and behavior support services.
Currently 22 people are employed by HCBDD. Squires shared that they would be affected. Her overview included a wage freeze, reduction in staff up to 50 percent, health insurance cut to single and dental coverage only, no out-of-county travel nor professional development, and reductions in staff hours.
Squires is hopeful that the former Green Elementary School building will find a new tenant.
“We provide services for pre-natal through death and people are living longer and needing more expensive services,” she explained.
According to the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD), the focus is on having people become more independent with relation to employment, recreation, home-life and civic involvement.
To offer more independent services as the State is looking towards, Squires explained that it takes more funding to provide the more individualized support.
“Larger communities are better able to do this, but small counties like us have a very hard time due to funding,” she added.
Effective April 1, 2019 the HCBDD received a three-year accreditation with no citations from the State of Ohio. The process is a rigorous review of every operational aspect of the DD system in the local county, to ensure quality service and support for people with developmental disabilities.
This is a recognition that is very valuable to those looking for top-notch services for family, friends, community members and potential employees.