Developmental Disabilities Board Seeks Input On Financial Trouble

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The Athens County Board of Developmental Disabilities will be holding a public forum this week to gather feedback on the public agency’s financial troubles.

“Currently our expenses are outpacing our revenue by $1.7 million,” ACBDD Supt. Eric Young told The Messenger on Tuesday. He said at this rate, the agency’s carryover funds could be depleted by 2015.

Young said there needs to be an agencywide review of services and of how many people are receiving those services.

“We want to ensure that no services currently provided are cut,” Young told The Messenger.

The board is holding a public forum on Thursday at 6 p.m. at Beacon School on West Union Street to review the agency’s financial status and to get input from stakeholders regarding programs and services.

“Like most local government entities, ACBDD’s revenue streams have been reduced or are remaining flat,” stated a news release from the agency on Tuesday. “Even after significant cost-savings actions were implemented in 2012 and (2013), expenses are significantly outpacing revenues at a pace that will nearly deplete the agency’s carryover reserves by the end of 2015.”

Young is to provide an overview of the agency’s financial status and projections, as well as a cost analysis of each program and service area during Thursday’s meeting.

The Athens County Board of Developmental Disabilities provides a wide array of services and programming for those with developmental disabilities. Such services include Beacon School, which serves students from the five school districts in the county; Atco, which provides employment and job training for those with developmental disabilities; and PersonnelPlus, a non-profit employment service.

“As with most social service agencies, ACBDD’s largest cost drivers are salaries, fringe benefits and health insurance, which account for over 55 percent of the agency’s budget,” stated the news release. “The next largest cost for ACBDD is for residential services, which accounts for 21 percent of the budget.”

The news release states that unlike most other social service agencies, ACBDD becomes legally responsible to assure clients’ health and safety 24/7 when families are unable to provide care for their loved ones.

“This can result in the need to fund in-home staffing from a few hours per week up to around-the-clock care. Currently, ACBDD provides funding for in-home staffing for approximately 180 individuals. The next most expensive programs to operate are Beacon School and Atco, followed by the Service and Support Administration and PersonnelPlus,” it states.

Young says that the agency will need to look for a combination of revenue enhancements and expense reductions to balance the budget.

Thursday’s meeting is open to the public.