The Community Mental Health and Recovery Board is asking Licking and Knox county residents to approve a 0.45-mill levy on the May 4 ballot.

The Community Mental Health and Recovery Board is asking Licking and Knox county residents to approve a 0.45-mill levy on the May 4 ballot.

The 10-year levy, which would be in addition to the 10-year, 1-mill levy already on the books, would collect about $1.6-million annually from Licking County residents and would help to preserve organization services.

The levy is estimated to collect about $2.1-million annually from the entire two-county taxing district.

Wendy Williams, executive director of the health and recovery board, said passage of the levy is crucial to make up for the $1.9-million in state funding cuts and the discontinuation of about $1-million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds it has received.

The board serves the two-county area with prevention, education and treatment services for people coping with alcoholism, drug abuse and mental illness. The organization also offers a 24-hour emergency hotline, housing assistance and case management.

Licking County residents would pay about $13.78 in property taxes each year per $100,000 of assessed property value.

Williams said she understands it is a difficult time to ask for more funding but said her organization is in desperate need.

"Because of these difficult economic times, we are seeing more people coming to our system to access our services," she said.

She said the health and recovery board has yet to decide what services would be cut if the May ballot issue were to fail but said the organization already has had to cut some prevention and intervention services for children and adults this year because of state funding cuts.

"We have already made some reductions, and if we are not successful, there will be future reductions," Williams said.