How are County Boards of Developmental Disabilities Funded?

Ohio’s county boards of developmental disabilities receive the overwhelming majority of their funds from county property tax payers through voter-approved tax levies. Additional resources are provided via federal Medicaid waiver reimbursements and certain state funding streams. Every county board’s budget consists of a unique combination of these three funding streams – no two counties are funded exactly the same.

Local Funds: All county boards collect at least one local property tax levy approved by voters, with some counties collecting multiple tax levies. A substantial majority of county board funding for all services across the state- more than $1 billion- is derived from local property taxes. The percentage of overall funding made up by local funds varies greatly from county to county. Ohio is unique in that it relies on local funding sources to pay for most DO services- other states rely heavily on state funding streams for services, case management, and Medicaid waiver match. In fact, more than half of all funds raised at the local level for DO services in the United States are raised in Ohio.

State Funds: State funding varies by county and is typically determined using a formula that factors in the county’s population, the number of people served, and the ability of the county board to be reimbursed by Medicaid for qualifying programs. A small portion of overall funding for county boards comes from the state, however, some counties rely much more heavily on state funding to operate than others as a percentage of their overall budget. Ohio has also recently begun allocating a small but significant amount of funds to serve as match for additional Medicaid waivers as they attempt to offer more opportunities for home- and community-based services to those people who currently live in institutional settings.

Federal Funds: The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities and each of Ohio’s 88 County Boards of DO receive reimbursement dollars from Medicaid for qualifying services to people with developmental disabilities. A significant minority portion of county boards’ overall funding comes from the federal government, though distribution varies widely among counties based upon eligibility and types of service offered.