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HHS Levy Campaign Underway

Only once in the past 35 years has a human services levy failed in Cuyahoga County. Nevertheless, backers are putting a lot into the campaign - and today packed the atrium at MetroHealth Medical Center to kick it off.

Without the 90 million dollar levy, leaders say the county would likely eliminate or reduce some services, small - like staffing neighborhood centers, to large, such as changes in the county hospital's budget.

Commissioner Tim Hagan was himself a patient at Metro just last week.

"This collective sense of voting for this levy is the conscience of this community. It expresses, in so many ways, what we think about one another."

Hagan has said the levy also secures an additional $200 million from state and federal sources.

Other presenters ranged from the mother of shooting victim Jory Aebly, who was also treated at Metrohealth, to a young man who went through five county-supported foster homes; but is about to graduate college.

The fear is that voters might balk after a year in which county corruption cases dominated the headlines, jobs were lost, homes foreclosed, and salaries reduced.

MetroHealth CEO Mark Moran says he wants people to understand why nearly half the 90-million goes to his hospital.

"The important thing to remember is the services that are being delivered. Those services are worth, at cost, about $114 million. The $40 million provides the support that allows us to get started."

The Human Services levy will be on the ballot, in the May election.

Rick Jackson is a senior host and producer at Ideastream Public Media. He hosts the "Sound of Ideas" on WKSU and "NewsDepth" on WVIZ.