When voters approved Campbell County’s payroll tax in the 1970s, a portion was dedicated to services in mental health, intellectual disability, and aging. As of Friday, that program allocates roughly $1.2 million to $1.4 million to Campbell County residents utilizing services across 30 agencies.
The funds from the payroll tax go to social service agencies that apply for funds like emergency sheltering, supportive employment, Meals on Wheels, and other programs. Campbell County Human Services works with Boone and Kenton County’s Human Services departments to streamline the process across Northern Kentucky. The community services managers work closely with one another to monitor the programs throughout the year.
According to the Campbell County Community Services Manager Allyn Reinecke, roughly $6 million annually is contributed by all three counties that support around 60 programs from 30 agencies. Aside from two senior in-home service agencies, the others who receive funding are all nonprofits.
“We aren’t here to help build up reserves for certain programs; we’re really there if they have a funding shortage in a certain program,” Reinecke said.
The money contributed by the people working in their county goes to the residents of that county. If a Campbell County resident utilizes a service in Boone or Kenton County, the money provided by the Campbell County payroll tax follows them even though the agency may not be in the county.
“It’s really not much per employee, $20 something dollars per employee is what it’s capped at,” Reinecke said. “But it generates a lot between the three counties.”
She said that once residents meet their cap, they no longer pay into it.
Reinecke said that the only requirement for agencies who apply is to spend the funding on a resident of that respective county. If the person is homeless, they use their last known address. The only other requirement Reinecke said is for the aging tax; the resident must be 60 years old or older.
The funding also goes toward some internal programs like the senior center in Highland Heights that operates under the fiscal court.
Reinecke said that though some agencies are not located in Campbell County, clients at services like Redwood in Fort Mitchell and New Perceptions in Edgewood are eligible for bus services.
“So, they come in and pick folks up and take them there Monday through Friday usually,” Reinecke said. “We have a really great position. A lot of people hate the word ‘tax,’ but these folks really do help people year in and year out.”
Reinecke said the funds also provided over 27,000 hours of adult day training last year, which helps adults with intellectual disabilities find their passions.
“Folks that would maybe not qualify for community employment, they can go there and do that and earn money,” she said.
On the aging side, the county home delivered 5,700 meals last year, and the community pharmacy program filled 5,000 prescriptions for senior citizens.
“It really makes a difference in folk’s lives,” Reinecke said.
What are the logistics behind the program?
The agencies sign yearly contracts with the county, and the funds are on a reimbursement basis.
“They have to list every client that was served, the zip code in which they live, how many hours, or whatever the service is,” Reinecke said. “Or however many units they are billing them for. If it’s a meal, they might bill them for 20 meals a month, for example. We get those every month from every agency for review.”
Here are charts of the agencies, programs, and money allocated for the program:
“The money that’s listed on there is what they have to spend through June 30, if they’re interested in getting the fiscal year 2024 funds,” Reinecke said. “It is an annual application. So, if you’d like the funds to continue year in and year out, you have to reapply every January every year.”
Each county’s community services managers also do site visits to stay current on trends in the perspective fields, maintain close working relationships, and audit files.
“We’ll do an audit of the files for the clients that they have billed us to do a spot check and make sure that what they filed for in the past corresponds with what is in that client file,” Reinecke said.
The application is due Jan. 31 by 4 p.m. and is an Excel spreadsheet that agencies fill out with the program’s financial information.
“If that program is operating at a deficit, it will generate a request from the counties based on a combination of things, historical data, working with agencies, most of them are the same every year that apply,” Reinecke said.
She said they also look for program outcomes on the application.
Reinecke said they don’t want to know basic output from agencies, such as the number of meals they will supply. They want to see how those meals will impact clients and measurable objectives for the program.
“It’s a combination of meeting with the agencies and getting to know them and looking at their measurable objectives, looking at their agency’s financial information to analyze the health of the agency, and then weeding out anything that might not serve the residents of our county,” Reinecke said.
She said the efforts of Campbell, Kenton, and Boone Counties handing out roughly $6 million yearly is equivalent to what United Way (an international network of over 1,800 local nonprofit fundraising affiliates) is funneling into Northern Kentucky annually.
“It’s a really big deal for the agencies, and they’re also appreciative of the funding,” Reinecke said.