ASHLAND COUNTY -- Ashland County Administrator Jeffrey A. Beirl issued a press release today in response to a recent article published by APG Media's, Ashland Daily Press. The Ashland County Sheriff's Office also published information on their Facebook page.

Mr. Beirl stated at the end of the press release that "this letter was submitted to the Daily Press at 11:30 am on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 to clarify some of the confusion created by the Daily Press article regarding the Ashland County Referendum. The letter has not been published as of today, July 26, 2018"

You can read the letter in its entirety below:

Clarification on County Referendum

I was disappointed in the way some of the facts were reported in the Daily Press article on Thursday, July 20th, 2018 titled “County Seeks $1M To Cover Addict Costs”.

First, the increase in the Operating Levy that the County is asking for is to cover the costs borne by the County while dealing with issues caused by substance abuse, not to cover addict costs. These issues include: increased law enforcement costs due to increased jail population and longer stays in jail due to felonies, increased costs in our Court system costs due to more cases and increased Health and Human Services costs for issues affecting the children and families of people with substance abuse issues.

Second, the County’s referendum question asks for an increase in the Operating Levy from $5.19/thousand of equalized value to $6.02/thousand of equalized value for a period of time NOT TO EXCEED FIVE (5) YEARS; not for at least five (5) years as it was reported. In 2017, Ashland County’s Operating Levy was $5.19/thousand and their Debt Service Levy was $0.74/thousand for a total Tax Levy of $5.93/thousand of equalized value. This means the County’s portion of the overall tax bill for a property valued at $100,000 was $593.00. The referendum would increase the Operating Levy from $5.19/thousand to $6.02/thousand with the total Tax Levy increase to $6.76/thousand assuming the Debt Levy Service remains the same. This means the County portion of a person’s overall tax bill for property valued at $100,000 would increase from $593.00 to $676.00 an increase of $83.00 for a period not to exceed five (5) years. Property valued at less than $100,000 would pay less, property valued in excess of $100,000 would pay more based on the property value.

Lastly, the substance abuse problem has continued to increase over the past five (5) years. With this increase comes increased costs; most of them at the County level. To be able to raise money to cover these costs, the County needs by referendum, to ask the voter’s to increase their Operating Levy. After five (5) years of hoping the problem would go away or at least level off, the County determined action had to be taken and is putting the referendum to the voters.

This additional Tax Levy will hopefully allow the County to address the problems and costs associated with this problem, reduce the number of substance abuse issues and avoid having to build an addition to the Jail (estimated cost of $14 to $18 million) or a new Jail and Justice Center (estimated costs $30 to $35 million) in the future.

Hopefully this clarifies some of the confusion on the way the referendum was explained in the Thursday article.

Thank you for taking the time to read this response.

Jeffrey A. Beirl Ashland County Administrator

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