WEIRTON — For almost 30 years, the residents of Hancock County have shown their support for the Hancock County Sheltered Workshop through a $250,000 a year levy.
The levy is among the items appearing on this year’s ballot, and officials are hoping for the support to continue.
The Hancock County Sheltered Workshop, which opened its doors in 1958, provides a variety of training and job opportunities to individuals with disabilities, transporting them from throughout the county to their site in Weirton.
“We appreciate, greatly, the support we’ve always received from the people of Hancock County,” Executive Director Michael Hagg said of the levy, which has existed since 1992.
If approved by county voters, the levy will be in effect July 1 to June 30, 2025. The rates of assessment are 0.71 cents per $100 on Class I properties; 1.42 cents per $100 on Class II; 2.85 cents per $100 for Class III and 2.85 cents per $100 on Class IV. The levy requires a minimum 60 percent approval for passage.
Hagg noted the amount raised through the levy has been constant throughout its history.
In the event more than $250,000 is raised in any given year, additional funds will be put toward recreation projects in the county.
According to Hagg, the Hancock County Sheltered Workshop has been facing its own challenges as a result of the COVID pandemic, making continued support of the levy even more important than in previous years.
“This levy is important to our revenue, always, but more so at this point,” Hagg said.
Restrictions put in place in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus have resulted in the workshop suspending all of its client services, which include programs teaching various life skills and offering social activities.
“It helps them in their daily living arrangements,” Hagg said of the programs, where clients learn about cooking, shopping, financial skills and tips on going through a job interview. “That daily and weekly routine is important.”
The sheltered workshop is in the process of seeking a second location, to be used for those services when clients are able to return.
In addition, employment opportunities for the workshop’s laundry and custodial services have reduced in the past months.
Hagg noted precautions have been developed, including using separate staff for the daily treatment services and laundry services, separate vehicles and stocking a variety of personal protective equipment.
(Howell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)
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