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Lorain County may seek anti-drug levies


Original version corrected to reflect correct millage for Recovery One.

ELYRIA — County commissioners are starting the process of determining how much revenue Lorain County could generate if levies were placed on the ballot to combat the drug epidemic on two fronts.

On Wednesday, the commissioners passed resolutions requesting the Lorain County auditor to certify the total tax valuation for the county and the dollar amount of revenue that could be generated for two five-year levies — one to fund the county crime and drug lab another to fund Recovery One. The latter is a one-stop recovery facility in which the Nord Family Foundation, The LCADA Way, Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board of Lorain County and the Lorain County Board of Mental Health are partnering with the commissioners to open at the old Golden Acres facility.

County Administrator Jim Cordes stressed that the resolutions do not place levies on the upcoming November ballot, but give the commissioners vital information needed in making a decision. This is a conversation many municipalities are having — gauging how to combat the drug epidemic, how to pay for it and what role residents and taxpayers should have in determining both.

“We cannot deny that we have a very serious problem in the county,” Commissioner Matt Lundy said. “It is a problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.”

The auditor will look at different funding levels for each proposal.

For the crime and drug lab, the commissioners want to see what is generated for five years for .040 and .080 mills in additional leverage. For Recovery One, the auditor will look at .15 mills, .20 mills, .25 mills and .30 mills for five years.

The commissioners know levies will be hard sells.

In November 2016, county voters refused to approve tax increases proposed in part to address the drug-addiction crisis. They rejected a property tax to support the county coroner and the county crime and drug lab and they rejected a property tax to fund drug and alcohol prevention, treatment and recovery services.

Ensuring a revenue stream for Recovery One is critical because Cordes said the commissioners will leverage the tax revenue as match money to ensure additional funding for the facility.

Commissioner Lori Kokoski said Recovery One is the missing link in treatment in Lorain County.

“It is the mission element that will help us in the present and in the future,” she said as she talked about her sons’ struggles with addiction. “There is no where in Lorain County to go if someone needs help that can take them today.”

Recovery One is a new initiative that puts all treatment tracks — detox, rehabilitation, therapy and transitional housing — under one roof.

Commissioners sought and received $500,000 in state funding earlier this year to help pay the estimated $850,000 cost to get the building ready for its new role. But more money will be needed to fully get the program up and running.

Cordes said the commissioners will discuss both levies in two weeks, which will give the board enough time to decide if it can meet the Aug. 8 deadline for getting issues on the November ballot.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 440-329-7121 or Like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.

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