Issue 9 Called Crucial To Health And Human Services In County

Members of MetroHealth Medical Center, city of Cleveland, and Cuyahoga County rally for Issue 9 [Mark Urycki / ideastream]
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Cuyahoga County officials have 6 weeks to convince voters to renew a 3.9 mill levy called Issue 9. The money goes to health and human services and supporters say the county would be devastated without the money.  

Issue 9 is the second of two levies the county uses to raise money for things like mental health care, preschools, senior care, job training, and MetroHealth hospital.

The director of the MetroHealth Burn Center, Dr. Anjay Khandelwal said at a campaign rally that the Burn Center treats a wide range of people.

“If a local firefighter is burned, they’re going to come here to MetroHealth,” Khandelwal said. “If a police officer is burned, they’re going to come here to MetroHealth. If a steelworker or electrical lineman is injured on the job and has a burn injury, they’re going to come here to MetroHealth.”  

Despite increasing costs for the opioid crisis, the county decided to not ask for an increase but only renew the current levy. County Executive Armond Budish said the county has been cutting spending elsewhere.

“Hopefully we’ll continue to get increasing support from the state and federal governments so that we won’t have to consider tax increases locally,” Budish added. 

The levy comes at a time that Budish is under fire for the benefits he provides to his staff and have issued subpoenas for county employee documents. Budish said fear of failure is not why they are keeping the levy at 3.9 mills.

“I have no fear that this will fail, but again you can’t take anything for granted with this electorate today,” said Budish. “If it were to fail, we lose $100 million dollars a year for the people who need it the most in this county. And that is just unthinkable.”  

The levy lasts 2 years and then officials plan to make it an 8 year proposal. That way one of the two health levies would come up for renewal every 4 years.

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