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County concerned about mental-health funding

Bill proposed Tuesday by state legislators would provide $11.6 million in mental-health transitional funding

Published: Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 10:38 a.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 10:40 a.m. CST

A lack of mental-health funding has been a chief concern for Union County supervisors this budget season. Union County is set to get significantly less mental-health funding ($593,128) for fiscal year 2013-14 — about $138,000 less than the current fiscal year.

Rita Aistrope, assistant CPC for mental-health services in south-central Iowa, said Wednesday, Union County is like many other counties in Iowa. They need additional mental-health funding to maintain services.

“It’s essential we get extra funding,” Aistrope said. “If we don’t, it will make it very difficult on the counties we serve. More funding will help ensure our clients don’t have any changes in their daily schedules, and with that population it’s very, very important their schedules remain routine.”

But, good news may be on the way for Union County. Tuesday, state legislatores filed a bill that would provide an additional $11.6 million in mental-health funding to 26 of the 32 counties in Iowa that applied.

Union County was one of those counties that applied. Under the bill, Union County would receive an additional $597,792 to be used this fiscal year.

Sandy Hysell, county auditor, said this morning of that $597,792 the county has about $300,000 in state bills in need of payment. Hysell said, if the county does get the additional mental-health money, the county is unsure what stipulations will be placed on it by state legislators.

Other counties in the Creston News Advertiser area that would receive additional funding under the bill would include Taylor ($318,252), Adams ($150,742), Adair ($140,478) and Clarke ($22,347). Ringgold County applied for extra mental-health funding, but would be denied under the current bill proposal.

The money would help counties pay current costs for providing services to people with mental-health problems. Iowa is in the midst of shifting responsibilities and money away from counties and to the state and new regional authorities.

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