Sandusky County passes mental health tax levy - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Sandusky County passes mental health tax levy

Posted: Updated:
SANDUSKY COUNTY, OH (Toledo News Now) -

After being rejected by voters since 2006, a tax proposal in Sandusky County finally got the OK.

After eight tries, officials with the Tri-County Mental Health and Recovery Service are receiving its 0.8-mill tax plan approved by voters.

"We are overwhelmed, very excited," said Mental Health and Recovery Service Board Member Mircea Handru.  "With a collaborative effort, I think, with many agencies, all the villages and all the cities, the townships and the counties, I think we were able to finally pass the levy."

90-year-old Mental Health Advocate John VanDerLaar says he never gave up hope on the bill.

"Maybe now I can die," he says, laughing.

VanDerLaar told board members he wanted to see this levy passed before he himself passed.  He's managed support groups for people with mental illness for 13 years, and comes from a family that has struggled with it as well.

"I had a brother in Holland Schizophrenia, and my youngest son had Schizophrenia," he said.

Since the defeat in 2013, VanDerLaar has worked alongside health officials like Handru to post signs in Sandusky, Seneca and Wyandot County and spreading the word about why this levy is important to the community.

"Majority of the funds will go for treatment services such as counseling, group therapy, medication and peer support," said Handru.

The money will also be used for programs on suicide prevention and bullying in local schools.

The vote narrowly passed with just over 400 votes on Tuesday.

Board members say VanDerLaar was able to convince 75 homeowners to place signs supporting the levy in the yards.

"If you keep and and don't give up, that makes you win," he said.

Follow Toledo News Now:  

Mobile users, click on the "video" button in the app to watch this story. Download our app here.

Copyright 2014 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.