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Lorain County seeks levy for drug recovery facility

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    Lorain County Commissioners are putting a five-year, 0.30 mill levy on the ballot to fund a recovery center at the former Golden Acres Nursing Home.

    CHRONICLE FILE

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ELYRIA — County commissioners unanimously voted to put a levy on the November ballot that would help fund Recovery One and help fight the county’s opioid crisis.

The commissioners voted to place a five-year, 0.30-mill levy on the Nov. 6 general election ballot that will raise $2 million annually. The commissioners said the levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $10.50 annually.

The levy would help fund Recovery One, which is a one-stop recovery facility that the Nord Family Foundation, The LCADA Way, Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board of Lorain County and the Lorain County Board of Mental Health are partnering with the commissioners to open at the Old Golden Acres facility.

The coalition has been meeting to try to figure out how much the center will cost to run. The commissioners considered levies of varying millage from 0.10 mills to 0.85 mills.

County Administrator Jim Cordes said the extremes in what some in the coalition think it will take to fund the center are due to “different thought patterns” on the method, delivery and type of services the center should offer.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that somewhere in between one of those numbers is probably the working number,” Cordes said. “It’s not going to be a perfect solution. I don’t think even the low number or the high number is perfect. I think it’s a work in progress and I think there’s work that needs to be done, but we’re out of time now.”

Wednesday was the deadline for the levy to be placed on the November ballot.

“We are putting this issue on the ballot today because time is of the essence,” Commissioner Lori Kokoski said. “It’s going to take money to operate Golden Acres as Recovery One, and everybody agrees that the model we’re looking at with Recovery One is needed, but we just can’t agree on a cost yet, but we will. Today is the last day to put this on the ballot for the voters, so we’re looking at a number in the middle of what experts think we need to operate this facility.”

Commissioner Matt Lundy agreed.

“We need to take matters into our own hands and help our families here in Lorain County,” he said. “We have two options: We can keep talking about how bad the drug problem is, or we can actually do something about it. This is a family crisis, but it’s also a community crisis.”

Lundy also said the county was fortunate to get a grant of $500,000 from the state’s capital budget bill to help stabilize the utilities in the building. He also said the commissioners have made an investment in it, as well.

Cordes said the chances of getting the levy passed “are pretty slim, but we have to get out there and try to make a difference.”

In each of the past two years, 132 people have died from drug overdoses in the county, according to County Coroner Dr. Stephen Evans.

“If you don’t care about those who are dying, let’s talk about those who are living, if you can call it that,” said Kokoski, who has two sons who have struggled with addiction. “If they’re not in recovery, they are surviving to get the money to get high every day, all day. That’s not living.

“If you don’t care about them, you might have compassion about your family. Maybe you think they weren’t raised correctly and you think, ‘that won’t happen in my family.’ I hope that it doesn’t.”

Kokoski said the county can’t wait another year to do something, and that while groups continue to collect data, “our coroners continue to collect body bags.”

Contact Scott Mahoney at 329-7146 or smahoney@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.


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