TRUMBULL COUNTY State to give MRDD $300,000 less

The budget cut was expected, but not such a large amount.
NILES -- The Trumbull County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities found out this week it will see a reduction in the amount of state tax dollars it gets.
The state MRDD notified the board, which operates the Fairhaven programs, it will get $300,000 less than last year.
That's a 30 percent reduction, according to local MRDD superintendent Douglas Burkhardt. The local board was expecting a cut, "but the amount was more than we anticipated," Burkhardt said.
He described the cut as a trickle-down effect after Gov. Bob Taft asked all state agencies to reduce their budgets.
At this point, it is unclear how the cut will affect programming. "It's too early for us to predict," said Burkhardt.
Over the next few weeks, Burkhardt and other leadership team members will study the cuts to make recommendations to the Fairhaven board, which meets Aug. 26.
Local responsibilities
At the same time, the state is also asking local MRDD agencies to increase residential living opportunities and fund the homes.
This latest cut follows last year's reduction of $1.8 million, which prompted the layoffs of 26 employees. Those cuts were made to avoid seeking a tax levy, Burkhardt said.
The local MRDD will have a renewal levy on the ballot in May, but Burkhardt does not expect the board to ask taxpayers for more money.
"We'll find a way to cope with it internally," he said.

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