3/4/08

AFSCME earns gov't praise for backing new tax

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Ohio Council 8 and its retirees of chapter 1184 have endorsed the Lawrence County abused and neglected children’s levy that will be on Tuesday’s primary election ballot.

“We support the levies because communities benefit from them,” William Sams, Athens regional director for AFSCME, said. “The last thing in the world we need to do in hard times such as this is cut funding that helps families, particularly children that are subject to that agency’s care.” Gene Myers, director of Lawrence County Department of Jobs and Family Services, said he is thankful for the endorsement. “I’m very, very pleased they took up this issue,” Myers said.

The one-mil levy, if passed, would generate $626,710 annually to help care for children in foster care. Right now funding for this comes from other office funds within JFS but Myers said the number of kids in foster care in on the rise and so is the cost of keeping these children in a safe environment. Foster care costs are approximately $1.5 million a year.

The levy would increase real estate taxes by $1 for every taxable $1,000 assessed on a parcel of property. For instance, if a person owned a $100,000, the taxable amount is $35,000 and the homeowner’s taxes would increase by $35 annually. On a $50,000 house, taxes would be increased by $17.50 annually.

Myers said the money from the levy would be used only for the care of children, not for administrative costs, pay raises for employees or other expenses.

(irontontribune.com)

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