By DENISE GRANT
A full 76 percent of Hancock County voters on Tuesday approved the renewal of Blanchard Valley Center’s five-year, 2.5-mill levy.
The vote was 7,411 in favor, 2,345 opposed. All vote totals are unofficial and include absentee ballots.
Hancock County voters have traditionally supported the center’s levies. In 2003, voters first approved the 2.5-mill levy by a 2-1 margin.
Superintendent Connie Ament was “excited and so thankful” for Tuesday’s show of support.
“We really, really appreciate everyone’s support. It makes a big difference for the people that we serve,” Ament said.
Even though the community has traditionally supported the center, Ament finds every election a little unnerving.
“It’s just the unknown and there are so many competing needs. We don’t want to take the support for granted. We don’t ever want to take it for granted. We always want to make sure the community understands what our issues are,” she said.
The levy which was renewed by voters on Tuesday generates about $3 million each year, and accounts for nearly 25 percent of the center’s operating revenue.
Together with the center’s 1.9-mill levy, local tax dollars cover about 51 percent of the center’s budget.
Blanchard Valley Center relies on local levy dollars and federal funding to pay for its programs.
The Hancock County Board of Developmental Disabilities oversees the center, which provides programs for people with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities.
The center includes a school that serves students from birth through age 21, an adult vocational and habilitative program known as Blanchard Valley Industries, along with other adult vocational and residential services.
About 500 people are served by the center, which has seen its population jump by nearly a third over the past five years.
The owner of a home with an appraised value of $100,000 in Hancock County pays $77.04 each year to support the levy.
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