MAHONING COUNTY Voters to decide on tax renewals for children services, TB program

Recent reports of neglected children show the continued need of the service, the CSB executive director said.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Mahoning County commissioners are asking voters to approve two tax renewals that will help continue programs for the young and the ill.
They seek to have voters renew a 0.5-mill levy to support the county Children Services Board and care and placement of abused and neglected children.
They are also asking voters to renew a 0.1-mill levy to continue a tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment program at the District Board of Health.
The three-member board of commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to place the levies on the November ballot.
CSB Executive Director Denise Stewart said the levy usually receives about 60 percent support of voters and generates half of the organization's funds. She pointed to four recent press reports of neglected children to show the continued need of the service.
Goal of TB program
Health Commissioner Matthew Stefanak said the tuberculosis levy will help the program reach its goal of making the program unnecessary by 2010.
Last year, the county recorded a record-low three active TB cases, Stefanak said. However, he said those numbers mean there are likely an additional 2,500 latent infections in the county. Of those, one in 20 will likely develop active TB. A goal is to find those people infected and treat them.
Cases spiked in 1998, when the county reported that 12 people were infected.
The program tests people at risk for TB infection, monitors rates of TB in nursing homes, schools, substance abuse treatment programs, jails and shelters. It also educates the community about prevention and treatment.

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