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Commissioners table JFS levy request

| September 5, 2023

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Aug. 29, 2023) – Tuscarawas County JFS officials have proposed a countywide property tax to fund the local foster care system.  

Director David Haverfield met with the commissioners Monday to ask them to pursue a five-year, 1.6-mill child welfare and adult protective services levy in the spring. That’s $35 in taxes per year for every $100,000 of home value and more than $4.5 million for the agency whose budget has been getting eaten up by the cost of caring for kids who can’t be placed in traditional foster homes. 

“Supply and demand have caused the price to rise for those placements,” Haverfield explained. “For the first time ever, we are seeing $1,000 a day placements for our kids. That is not incredibly uncommon. It’s not an everyday occurrence but we are seeing that now.”

JFS gets state and federal money for other programs, but very little foster care, which cost the county a record $3.1-million last year.

“When we pay our bills, we pay everything out of our public assistance monies. Then, we transfer money from children’s services over to public assistance. However, due to the way things have happened over about the past three years, we are over-advanced. So in other words, children’s services owes money back to the children’s assistance fund.”

The commissioners agreed there was a problem but weren’t comfortable taking the levy request to voters without exhausting every possible cost-saving measure. They say they’ll reconsider once the state wraps up its latest performance audit of the agency, which will be too late to get an issue on the ballot in next year’s earlier primary.

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