The Lawrence County Tax Board for the Developmentally Disabled elected officers and awarded grants during its August meeting.
With the board's current officers willing to serve another year, board members voted to keep the leadership in place. Continuing their duties are: Becky Elliott, president; Renée White, vice president; Martha Pettegrew, secretary; and Don Howard, treasurer.
The board voted to keep its property tax levy at its present level rather than raise it to a slightly higher amount allowed by the state auditor. The levy of 8.7 cents per $100 of assessed property would generate more than $342,000 in the coming tax cycle. The auditor would allow a levy of 9.3 cents, which would bring in approximately $7,000 more.
"This is not the time to try to raise the levy," said George Woodward, executive director for the tax board.
Board members concurred. No public comment was offered during the tax levy hearing.
According to the board's financial report, the board had $222,683 at the end of July and more than $250,000 in commitments for grant money for the current year. A summary showed the board has made commitments of $400,352, including grants that will be paid in the coming year. Of the grants already awarded, $164,056 had not yet been paid. The tax board reimburses agencies for services already delivered.
New grant requests came before the board at its August meeting. Woodward reported the Area Workshop had requested $5,899.85 to make up for the shortfall in state money at the end of the state's fiscal year. The total represented what would have been paid for the 22 certified Lawrence County employees.
|Woodward said state funding has fallen short in the past and the tax board has made up the balance, though it has been several years since the need arose. The total shortfall to pay workshops around the state surpassed $2.4 million.||Woodward said the tax board had enough to make up the difference locally, and board members approved the appropriation.|
John Foley, chief executive officer for Arc of the Ozarks, requested funding to help Arc of the Ozarks cover its costs for buying the Smart Start daycare center building for its regional office. Foley explained the Barry County Tax Board for the Developmentally Disabled provided a $100,000 grant to help purchase the building and the $200,000 balance was financed through First State Bank.
Foley requested $5,000 to cover the cost of renovating the building. Offices for staff, a meeting room and a large room for the day program are now in use. The restroom fixtures for children originally in the building were taken out and resold. A dedication ceremony is planned for Sept. 23.
Arc of the Ozarks presently has around 140 employees in the Monett area, Foley said. The agency, based in Springfield, has 650 employees total working in Barry, Lawrence, Christian, Greene, Wright, Jasper and Webster counties.
The board approved the grant request.
Woodward announced that applications for 2010 grants are being mailed. The form has been streamlined with fewer questions, he said. Deadline for submission of requests is Nov. 13.
The next education opportunity for families of the developmentally disabled will be on Sept. 29. Arc of the Ozarks is hosing a seminar on estate planning for beneficiaries with a disability, with attorney B.J. Richardson. The session will be held at the Arc's new Monett office at 1010 Old Airport Rd. Pre-registration is required and can be made by calling 354-0071.
Woodward reported the tax board's workshops have been well attended this year. The session on handwriting attracted 25 people, and 36 attended the session on motor development.