NEOSHO, MO.--- A local workshop that provides support services for developmentally disabled workers is asking Newton County voters for their support when they hit the polls in November. The proposed tax levy will support the workshop by generating roughly $360,000 per year. Crowder Industries provides training and employment for the developmentally disabled in Newton County. The Crowder workshop is 1 of 3 Missouri sheltered workshops that has never had local funding. Now, a volunteer says the workshop needs local support to ensure the future of their facility.
Jim Williams says he was ready to give up. "I could no longer do anything. My feet were going, my hands are deforming."
It was when he applied to Crowder Industries Workshop that he got a second chance at work.
"They have worked around my disability and helped me to give me something that I can still have self-esteem and feel that I'm still giving to society," said Jim Williams, Crowder Industries Workshop Attendee.
Williams is one of about 130 employees who work at Crowder Industries. Now the Board of Directors needs local support to continue to train and employ these people.
"Over the past 10 years, we have lost jobs in this area, industries to foreign competition. Also, state appropriations have been stagnant and also gone down for sheltered workshops," said Michael Franks, Workshop Volunteer.
Volunteer Michael Franks says the workshop is operating at a deficit. "We need a small amount of dependable local support to ensure the future and growth of the Crowder workshop for the service of all our developmentally disabled friends."
Employees like Williams are grateful everyday they walk in the door.
"In my situation, you can't really get a job and I would just be looking out a window," said Williams.
Instead, he's looking at his machine and task at hand.
"I am so glad that it's here, that I have a place to go to," said Williams.
The levy is six cents per $100 of assessed property. That means a taxpayer who owns a house with a $100,000 assessed valuation, would pay $11.40 per year.
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