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Agency expects to recoup less than half of its losses



Published: Tue, August 9, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



A new facility in Austintown is expected to open later this month.

By DENISE DICK

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

BOARDMAN -- Of the $4 million in funding Mahoning County's Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities lost this year, the agency expects to recoup only about $1.5 million from other state sources.

The Community Alternative Funding System, a Medicaid reimbursement for services to MRDD clients and disabled schoolchildren, ended in Ohio on June 30.

The loss of CAFS and other funding means a $4 million shortfall. CAFS paid for physical and occupational therapies, transportation and day services for adult clients attending board workshops.

Despite contentions from some state officials that the money would be made up from other sources, MRDD expects to receive only about $1.5 million in replacement funding from the state, Superintendent Larry Duck said at a board meeting Monday.

To balance the budget, the agency has had to lay off management and union personnel and will close the Rayen Avenue adult workshop in Youngstown at the end of the year.

But services are expected to continue to those clients through service agreements with private agencies. The Bev Road and Meshel workshops will continue to be operated by MRDD.

Some could return

A new facility for retired and senior clients is expected to open late this month on Javit Court in Austintown. The program previously was conducted at Leonard Kirtz School.

About 10 of the personnel cut through layoffs could be brought back to work at the new Javit Court site. The facility will offer services to older and medically fragile clients.

Duck expects it to serve between 95 and 100 people.

The building was donated to MRDD by Gateways to Better Living.

The board used about $2 million from U.S. Treasury notes and capital improvement reserves to renovate the building. No MRDD operating money was used for the work, officials have said.

Mahoning County voters can expect to see a 3-mill levy renewal on the November ballot. Duck said the issue is awaiting approval from Mahoning County commissioners before it's forwarded to the board of elections.

The levy raises about $11.4 million annually.

"We absolutely must pass this levy to keep things intact after the things we've dealt with this year," the superintendent said. "With the loss of CAFS, this is about half of our budget."




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