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Two Additional Costs Approved From Lewis County Mental Health Tax Funding

The Chronicle - 11/11/2017

Nov. 11--The Board of Lewis County Commissioners has approved additional funding to be utilized from the account funded through a one-tenth of 1 percent voter-approved mental health tax that does not have any impact on the general fund.

In October, commissioners decided to fund all of the requests for mental health tax money they received from various departments and offices, but two of those will now have an increased cost tacked on.

Lewis County Superior Court asked for money to fund a mental health coordinator position, which was approved. At first, the money for the new county position was expected to receive a $15,000 contribution from a Behavioral Health Organization.

"Part of the reason we opted it to be a county position is to be more independent," Superior Court Administrator Susie Parker said.

By accepting the funds from the BHO, that would not be the case as the program would have to abide by their rules, which would allow BHO certain control over the program, Parker said.

Commissioners approved the $15,000 gap to be funded through the mental health tax, unless other sources of revenue are pinpointed.

There was also an increase approved to the Nurse Family Partnership program that allows registered nurses to make home visits to low-income, first-time mothers.

Lewis County is required to pay for a fee set by Thurston County for the partnership of the program. That will add $21,000 because Thurston County's policy outlines a 33 percent charge for indirect fees for programs.

Commissioners approved the increase, which will also be paid from the mental health tax fund.

The money generated from the tax can only be used for chemical dependency and mental health treatment, as well as court programs and services that include treatment, case management and housing services.


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