Cuyahoga County residents will see a 4.7-mill levy replacement on the March 17 primary ballot for health and human services, which focuses on healthcare access, mental health and addiction treatment, trauma services and vital programs that serve children, seniors and the disabled.

The 4.7-mill levy, if passed, will replace the current millage rate of 3.9 mills. The new health and human services levy would cost taxpayers an additional $41 per $100,000 of property value per year, according to a press release. The levy would be in effect from 2021-2028.

“Issue 33 is a small increase that will have a huge impact,” said Cuyahoga County Council President Dan Brady in a written statement. “Issue 33 will help save lives, protect children, treat illnesses and addictions and protect seniors. It is vital to our future.”

The Vote for Health and Human Services website details how this funding helps residents of Cuyahoga County on a daily basis. An aging resident who uses Meals on Wheels, a person who is life-flighted to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland after a car accident or a person enrolled in a substance abuse treatment program all depend on funding from health and human services.

Other examples of these services include in-home healthcare support for people with disabilities, MetroHealth’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and various early education programs for kids entering preschool.

According to the Vote for Health and Human Services website, about $16.98 million would be used for services involving infants and children and $7.6 million would go toward mental health and addiction services by building a continuum of care and helping people find homes.

The $3.43 million dedicated to public safety would be used to turn young people away from violence and direct people from jail into treatment, according to officials. About $2 million in aid for elders would increase their food security and connect them with caregivers. The remaining $5 million would be for general health and human services.

Dr. Akram Boutros, CEO of the MetroHealth System, is also planning to track the effectiveness of health and human services expenditures.

“We see a growing demand for numerous types of vital health and human services at MetroHealth,” Dr. Boutros said. “I’m looking forward to working with Cuyahoga County, the Center for Community Solutions and other stakeholders to ensure investments from Issue 33 have the broadest possible impact.”

The 4.7-mill replacement health and human services levy will be on the March 17 primary ballot for all Cuyahoga County residents. Voters can visit https://voteforhhs.org/about/ for more information about the levy.

Julie Hullett has been a reporter for the Chagrin Valley Times since August of 2018 and covers Gates Mills, Hunting Valley, Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike and Woodmere. She graduated from John Carroll University with a journalism degree in 2018.

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