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Commissioners approve nine proposals for mental health tax revenue

Kitsap County commissioners approved nine proposals June 9 to spend about $2.26 million in revenue generated by the county’s new mental health tax.

The commissioners also elected to place nearly $700,000 in reserve for a potential crisis triage stabilization center.

The programs that will receive funds from the 0.1 percent sales tax, which was approved by Kitsap County commissioners on Sept. 23 and went into effect Jan. 1, include the Olympic Educational School District ($811,852), Healthy Start Kitsap ($50,166), Martha and Mary Health Services ($319,060), Peninsula Community Health Services ($100,000), Bremerton Police Department ($117,700), West Sound Treatment Center ($163,398), Kitsap Superior Court ($443,719), Kitsap Juvenile Court Services ($168,398) and Kitsap Juvenile Court Services ($90,490).

Funds generated from the sales tax are designated for mental health, chemical dependency and therapeutic court services in Kitsap County.

“Most of us know someone suffering from mental illness or drug and alcohol dependency, and see the behavioral health service gaps in our community,” Commissioner Charlotte Garrido said. “Too often, the de facto systems of care are local jails, courts, and hospital rooms.  This funding develops a systematic approach similar to the continuum of care model from public health.”

The 11-member committee voted unanimously May 20 to approve funding for 10 of the 15 proposals submitted, awards totaling nearly $3 million of the $3.3 million estimated to be available annually. Five of the proposals were recommended for funding as written, four at adjusted levels, and one only if alternative funding for subsequent years is identified. Five of the proposals were not recommended for funding at this time. A complete list of the funding recommendations approved by Commissioners is available at www.kitsapgov.com/hs/mhsa/3mhsamembers.htm.

“This is the right investment to be making in the health and well-being of our community. We need to make certain these dollars have the best outcomes on the mental health and chemical dependency needs of our citizens,” Kitsap County Commissioner Rob Gelder said.

Committee members Russell Hartman, Lois Hoell, Aimee DeVaughn, Connie Worm, Carl Olson, Richard Daniels and Robert Parker presented the recommendations to County Commissioners after what Committee Chairman Hartman called “a very thorough, deliberative and informative approach.”

The 11 members of the committee were appointed in September 2013 and have met monthly since October, reviewing the 2014 Kitsap County Behavioral Health Strategic Plan, Behavioral Health Systems Map and Gap Analysis and a survey of residents to determine where the greatest needs are.

“We recognize and thank the volunteer members of the Citizens Advisory Committee and Strategic Planning Team who spent countless hours reviewing applications and coming up with recommendations that will make a difference in our community,” said Commissioner Linda Streissguth.

 

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