TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) – In Ohio, counties are allowed to collect a 0.5 mil property tax each year in order to pay for veterans services.
Under that law, the Lucas County Veterans Service Commission is eligible for about $4.1 million annually, but the past three years has spent less than half of that each year. In 2009, 2010 and 2011 the commission spent $1.7 million, $1.6 million and $1.59 million on veterans, respectively.
"We want to make sure that we serve 100% the veterans in Lucas County but also be good stewards of that money at the same time," said Jason Brown, Deputy Director of the Lucas County Veterans Service Commission.
Critics say the commission is leaving millions of dollars on the table that could be helping veterans.
"There's veterans everywhere that are homeless. They're sleeping on the streets for God's sakes," said Rheubin Sydnes, an Army veteran who now finds himself living at the Saint Paul Community Center in downtown Toledo.
The commission's director, Lee Armstrong says they could collect the extra money they are entitled to, but that the money is just not needed.
"We would end up giving it back because we don't have a need for that kind of money," said Armstrong.
Still, Sydnes thinks Lucas County veterans deserve better.
"Lucas County does try but I think they could do more," said Sydnes.
Copyright 2012 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.
For more information contact:
Lucas County Veteran Services: 419.213.6090 or http://co.lucas.oh.us/index.aspx?NID=958
Ohio Department of Veterans Services: 888.387.6446 or http://dvs.ohio.gov/
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: http://www.va.gov/ or for a list of toll-free 800 numbers for the federal VA: https://iris.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1703