Four professionally dressed women smile at the camera. From left, they are Lisa Guliano, Representative Jennifer Gross, Courtney Hineman, Connie Mehlman

Representative Jennifer Gross grows understanding of Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities

Representative Jennifer Gross (R – West Chester) visited the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities on Monday, October 3 to gain a better understanding of the needs faced by the population served by the Board. Gross’ meeting included conversations with the Board’s superintendent, Lisa Guliano, as well as Connie Mehlman, Community Connections Coordinator, and Courtney Hineman, Community Outreach Advocate.

Over the course of the hour-long discussion, Gross learned about the agency’s funding and asked many specific questions to gain a better understanding of how tax dollars support people with developmental disabilities. She was interested to learn that in 2021, 23% of the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities’ revenue was made up of federal dollars in mostly Medicaid funding while 76% was local funds, largely from the Board’s two tax levies. State dollars made up 1% of the Board’s revenue. The Board was last on the ballot in 2004.

Courtney Hineman shared her experience both as an employee of the Board and also as someone who receives supports through the Board. Hineman described the challenge many people with disabilities face when seeking transportation. Gross instantly understood the struggle, sharing that she had heard from a family in West Chester who could not find a viable solution for their nearly adult child.

With a background as a nurse practitioner, Gross recognized the importance of helping people with developmental disabilities live independently in the community.

Hineman encouraged Gross to support organizations like Best Buddies, which creates friendship matches between those with intellectual and developmental disabilities and those without. She also described the growing popularity of remote supports which is a cost-effective way to create even more independence for people with developmental disabilities. 

Gross asked many engaging questions and shared the “appropriate” chain of communication. “Call your house rep first and if you don’t hear from that person,” she said, “call me.”

About the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities

The Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities provides services and supports to over 3,700 Butler County residents so they can successfully live, work, and learn in the community. Supports and services are available life-long through partner agencies or directly provided by the Board. The Board’s primary source of funding is from property tax levies collected annually and the Board was last on the ballot in 2004. Since 2021, the Board has given .5 mills of their 2.0 mills continuing levy back to the community through a temporary rollback.