Lorain County voters rejected a tax levy that would have raised $2 million a year to help fund the operation of Recovery One, a facility the county commissioners believe will help tackle the opioid crisis.
Issue 14, which was a 0.30-mill levy, had 56,918 votes against it and 52,159 votes for, a losing margin of 52 percent to 48 percent, according to unofficial election results.
While he would have liked to have seen the issue pass, Lorain County Commissioner Matt Lundy was encouraged by the results.
“When you look at it, a lot of votes were cast,” Lundy said. “I think those returns were close. If you look at it on paper, you think, ‘Well, you lost by 4,000 votes.’ If you look at the overall vote, we actually came pretty close.”
Recovery One is a one-stop facility that the Nord Family Foundation, The LCADA Way, Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board of Lorain County, the Lorain County Board of Mental Health, Firelands Counseling and Recovery Services and Road to Hope are partnering with county commissioners to open at the former Golden Acres facility in Amherst Township.
Despite the issue being rejected by voters, Lundy said the project will still happen.
“No, it’s not the end of Recovery One,” he said. “We’re going to scale the model according to what needs to be done. We have 60 people overdosing a month, and we still had 132 people that died last year. That’s just not acceptable.”
Lundy said the commissioners and the organizations committed to the project will have to sit down and reassess the next steps. The issue could be brought back before voters next year as well, he said.
“We have to work on getting more information out,” he said. “We’ll see if next year we’ll come back to the voters. We were looking at maybe 70 recovery beds, and now we may have to cut that in half and move forward from there.”
The commissioners also hope that the state and federal government will provide funds.
“Everybody talks about addressing the opioid epidemic, but then they don’t deliver the resources,” Lundy said. “To be on the national map as far as a county that has a lot of drug activity is not a good thing. We don’t want to be there, but you can’t arrest your way out of it. A lot of these individuals are good people; they just became addicted. We need to get them off the drugs and back to their families and back to work.”