Board of Developmental Disabilities seeking levy renewal, increase

By Cory Johnson - For the Enterprise

The Fulton County Board of Developmental Disabilities will seek both a funding renewal and increase in the upcoming primary election, a measure that is imperative to the future condintion of the board, according to its superintendent.

Funded primarily through taxpayer dollars, 80 percent of the financial support received by the board is used to directly support individuals with developmental disabilities.

Currently, the services are supported by both a 2-mill continuing levy, first approved in 2006 and collecting $1.37 million in 2016, and a 2-mill, five-year levy, first voted in 2004, that collected $1.48 million in 2016. The latter expires this year and will be on the ballot as a renewal.

In addition, the board will ask voters for an increase of .6 mills to the renewal levy. The increase would draw in an additional $606,952, costing an additonal $21.00 annually for a $100,000 home.

According to Beth Friess, the board’s superintendent, an increase is necesarry to cover the modern costs of key services to the community.

“We have not asked for additional dollars in over 10 years, however, the cost to support individuals continues to increase. Over the past couple of years, we have put cost cutting measures in place including eliminating positions and sharing services with other counties. We believe that this increase is important for us to continue to provide quality support for approximately 300 individuals with developmental disabilities who live in Fulton County,” she said.

Services provided by the board include home-based Early Interventions to families of 0-3 year olds with developmental delays, autism services through the PLAY Project, and case management services to individuals starting at age three and throughout their lifetime.

The board also provides funding to the Fulton County Special Olympics, vocational and habilitation services, supported employment and transportation, and residential services for adults who live in homes in the community but cannot live on their own without needed assistance.

Staff of the Board of Developmental Disabilities include an Early Intervention Team made up of developmental specialists, a speech pathologist, occupational therapist, and service coordinators.

“Fulton County has been very supportive of the Board of DD. We enjoy cooperative relationships with many county and community partners. Employers are currently supporting 36 individuals with developmental disabilities in jobs in the community. Residents have helped individuals to be full participating members of their communities,” Friess said.

The spring primary will be held May 2 with absentee voting hours beginning April 4. The Board of DD renewal and increase levy will appear jointly as Issue 1 in Fulton County.

By Cory Johnson

For the Enterprise

Reach Cory Johnson at

Reach Cory Johnson at