The Delaware County Board of Supervisors approved nearly $305,000 for projects supporting mental health in Delaware County at its Nov. 8 meeting.
Peggy Petlon, speaking on behalf of Mental Health/Disability Services of the East Central Region, requested using some surplus funds from the fund balance before the end of the fiscal year.
“We discussed a variety of ideas in a work session,” she told the supervisors. “We have an amount that if we don’t spend by the end of the fiscal year, it will go back to the region, then will go back to the state and they can use those funds where ever they choose, so our tax dollars won’t stay local.”
The money would come from a fund that has a beginning balance of approximately $385,000. Petlon proposed the following use of the funds:
• Security cameras at the Penn Center — $27,131.
• Panic Buttons at the Penn Center — $4,802.
• Vehicle for Crisis Stabilization Bed, requested by the Penn Center — approximately $30,000.
• Community Life van and car replacement — $65,000.
• Abbe Mental Health therapist in schools — three days a week at West Delaware, one day a week at Maquoketa Valley and two or three days a month at Edgewood-Colesburg based on need — $65,000.
Petlon explained the advantages of a therapist. “All three schools in the county could be covered by that therapist. By going through the schools, students can get treatment right there at school instead of having to make an appointment, leave school and have parents leave work to get to the appointment.”
• Law Enforcement Liaison through Foundation 2 Crisis Services — $112,000 beginning January 1, 2022. Funding for the first year and a half will come from the fund balance, with the mental health region paying 75% of costs in year three, 50% of costs in year four and 25% of costs year five.
“This would be a ride-along model,” Petlon said. “If someone is struggling in the community and a therapist is called out, the liaison could go with them to that call.” Petlon said the liaison could assist families following a traumatic event and could be utilized by law enforcement as well. “They could also help with training for our law enforcement and could be a resource for them as well.”
Supervisor Shirley Helmrichs commented on the requests. “If we don’t do good things in Delaware County with this money, someone else will use it. The funding concerns me, but if we don’t do something, we won’t have the funding, but we will still have the need.”