Mental Health was most of Normal’s meeting

By: Diane Benjamin

Keep in mind you are paying higher Sales Taxes because of this County experiment.

I said “experiment” because the County isn’t following a model, they are building a program from scratch.

To have any idea where your money is going you need to watch the entire presentation and questions/comments portion of this meeting. Just hit PLAY below.

The plan was to have an adolescent outpatient treatment center. Two Requests For Proposals were issued, no responses to either were received. The Regional Office of Education has taken this project over, they need called to report what they are doing with your money at a time when services for adolescents is badly needed. This link is to the Committee’s March packet and has more information than what was presented last night:

Around $22 million has been collected through Sales Taxes so far, only around $9 million has been spent. $13 million is waiting to be spent in the future.

Slide presented:

The slide below was the most troubling to me. A triage center is located on the 1st floor of the Public Health Building just west of the Law and Justice Center. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. People in need of counseling can show up and stay for up to 23 hours. Last year 297 people used triage, that amounts to 5.7 a week. 13 people staff this location. The County Administrator did report usage is up this year. Note, most people are self reporting to triage. They weren’t referred there:

I plan to file a FOIA for more information that wasn’t asked last night. I believe this project started 5 years ago, I’m not sure they can produce measurable results yet – except for adding on to the jail. Lots of representatives of organizations who already treat mental health are working together. It seems to be difficult to find common ground and consensus. Kathleen Lorenz has comments at 59:00 worth seeing.

This story doesn’t do the presentation justice. If you really want to know where your money has gone watch not only the presentation, but read all the minutes of this committee. Got a lot of time on your hands? You will need it.

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