Commissioners explore anti-drug levies


By Laurie Hamame - lhamame@aimmediamidwest.com



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Two anti-drug levies are being considered by Lorain County commissioners for the November ballot.

One would fund the county’s crime and drug lab and the other would support Recovery One, a drug addiction clinic set to open at the former Golden Acres Nursing Home in Amherst Township.

Resolutions were passed July 11 to determine how much the issues would generate if supported by voters.

After being sent to the county auditor for evaluation, the levies be back on the commissioners’ agenda for further discussion before the end of the month.

For the crime and drug lab, the auditor will calculate how much would be generated by either 0.04 mills or 0.08 mills to be assessed on Lorain County property tax bills.

A small levy supports the lab now but without additional funding, business cannot be conducted correctly due to aged equipment and understaffing, said county administrator James Cordes.

For example, a male and female observer need to be available for urine samples but only three people are currently employed, he said.

To support the operation of Recovery One, commissioners are considering asking for either 0.5 mills, 0.2 mills, 0.25 mills, and 0.3 mills for five years.

The county has already used $500,000 in state funding toward renovation costs. Commissioner Matt Lundy said more money is needed if the county expects to make significant progress against the drug crisis.

Commissioners proposed two tax increases in 2016 to address the opioid epidemic. Voters rejected both property tax levy questions to support the lab and the county coroner and they rejected another to fund drug and alcohol prevention, treatment, and recovery services.

“All the crazy derivatives of opiates weren’t there the last time we tried, so hopefully (voters) will see the importance of finding out what those drugs are,” said commissioner Lori Kokoski.

Lundy said voters cannot deny that drug addiction is a serious problem in the county. It’s negatively impacting families, economy, neighborhoods, and way of life, he said, and it needs to be addressed sooner than later.

“If we’re at least going to try to control this situations as best we can, we need to have a strategy, we need to have a plan, and we need to address it,” he said.

The deadline to place issues on the November ballot is Aug. 8.

Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.

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By Laurie Hamame

lhamame@aimmediamidwest.com