MOUNT VERNON — The 1.3-mill, 10-year Knox County Children Services replacement levy has passed with 13,293 votes, or just over 60 percent of the vote in favor, and only 8,595, or 39 percent against.
Matthew Kurtz, Knox County Job and Family Services director, explained that the community’s support of the levy has been overwhelming.
“I’m very happy, very pleased with these results,” Kurtz told the News. “And by about 60 percent, which is not a small majority, the community has been overwhelmingly supportive of the levy, which is not surprising. This is a great community that always comes out to support everything we do in the social services.”
Of a $100,000 home, the levy renewal will cost $45.50, which is an increase from the previous levy, which cost about $20 per $100,000 home.
Knox County Childrens Services
According to an estimate by the Knox County Auditor, the levy is expected to generate $1,793,400, of which $800,000 will be new revenue. That $800,000 will go exclusively to fund safe spaces for children, Kurtz said.
Kurtz has previously explained to the News that prior to 2015, Children Services averaged about 30 to 35 kids in care, but that number is currently closer to 120. He also reported that 85 percent of those children have a drug issue in their family.
“Our piece of all of this is to support children,” Kurtz said. “Whether their parents are in jail or in recovery from drugs, this money will allow us to give them a childhood. All of the $800,000 goes to creating a safe space for children in Knox County. And, we’re always hoping in cooperation with some of our community partners, that we can get families together and stay healthy together.”
Kurtz extended gratitude to Friends of Children’s Services members Dave Humphrey, chair of the levy committee, and Steve Wears, treasurer; as well as Children and Family services administrator Scott Boone and communications director Courtney Lower.
“We’re all very happy, very pleased with these results,” Kurtz said.
All results are unofficial until certified.