Portage County Health District 5-year levy fails

The Portage County Health District additional levy failed last night by a vote of 14,674 to 7,865.

DuWayne Porter, interim health commissioner, said in a March interview that the five-year, 0.4-mill levy would have raised about $1 million annually and would have accounted for one-third of the district’s budget.

The district provides health services such as immunization and clinics to all residents of Portage County, except those living in the cities of Ravenna and Kent.

Porter said 1955 was the last time a new or additional levy was passed.

He said the district has had to raise service fees to keep up with the cost of providing the rising number of government-mandated services.

“We continually raise our fees,” he said. “We’re going to get to a point where they can’t go any higher. We are only performing minimal services.”

He said if the levy did not pass, he anticipated a “drastic” budget cutback in 2008.

“We can squeak by until 2007,” he said. “We cut $300,000 off the 2007 budget to meet our minimum requirements, but in 2008, we may have to make some changes.”

– Erin Hopkins