Despite being soundly defeated during the November general election, the Paint Valley Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services (ADAMH) Board has announced that it will place the same property tax levy on the ballot during the May primary election.
The additional levy is necessary for a number of reasons, according to ADAMH Associate Director Penny Dehner.
“The opiate epidemic has long-reaching and long-lasting effects on children and families struggling with addiction,” she said. “We are seeing far too many children experiencing increased mental health needs due to exposure to the opiate epidemic. The levy is needed to build health, wellness and recovery for all families in our communities.”
If passed, the 1-mill, 10-year the levy would generate $4.6 million annually and cost the owner of a $100,000 property approximately $35 a year.
Created in 1967, the ADAMH serves a five-county area that includes Highland, Fayette, Pickaway, Pike and Ross counties.
Last November, voters in those five counties cast 52,526 votes against the levy and 40,378 votes for it.
The levy was defeated in all five counties, but was most soundly defeated in Highland County by a vote of 11,451 against it and 6,389 for it. The against and for votes in the other four counties were: Fayette 5,247 to 5,199; Pickaway 13,140 to 10,832; Pike 6,923 to 4,318; and Ross 15,765 to 13,640.
In 2012, voters passed 1-mill, 10-year ADAMH levy, but Dehner said those funds are no longer enough to generate the services needed.
She said that in past years the ADAMH had a budget carryover, but that due to the opiate epidemic costs are rising and more services are needed. She said the ADAMH overspent in 2016 and now has no reserve funds, plus has cut six positions due to a lack of funds.
If the most recent levy fails again, Dehner said services ADAMH offers would remain where they currently are, but she said that’s not even skimming the surface of what needs to be provided, and that is additional services.
“The need did not go away just because the voters didn’t approve the previous levy. The need is still there,” said Circleville resident Jack Clark, chairman of the ADAMH Board. “The Paint Valley ADAMH Board has been continually providing services and building capacity for our communities for 50 years. We are committed to the residents to continue to provide services and want to use the funds generated from the 1-mill levy to provide better access to treatment, detoxification, crisis services and prevention in our schools.”
Dehner said the board would like to be able to offer services to children in crisis situations at an early age, like kindergarten, “to give them the skills to deal with issues they have at home.” She said the communities ADAMH serves are not going to get ahead of the opiate epidemic until prevention programming can begin at an early age.
“It’s discouraging that we have to go to the voters. I wish the money was coming from some other sources,” Dehner said. “But it’s in our backyard and we all want to live, work and play in a good environment.”
For more information on the levy or ADAMH funded services, call the board office at 740-773-2283 or visit the agency’s website at www.pvadamh.org.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.