The Scott County Board of Supervisors started the new year Wednesday by electing a chairman and discussing legislative priorities.
Republican Larry Minard, who was chosen as chairman, has served on the board since 2000 and served as chairman from 2005-06. He replaces Tom Sunderbruch, who held the position for two years. Jim Hancock, a Democrat who has been on the board since 1996, was re-elected as vice chairman.
Minard thanked his predecessor for his work.
“This county is going through a considerable transition, and we have managed to work carefully and thoughtfully to move through this difficult period,” he said.
Speaking of transitions, the supervisors recognized their greatest issue to discuss with state legislators is mental-health funding, both on a transitional basis and moving through a system reform. Other priorities include property tax relief, gasoline tax and adequate Medicaid funding.
Scott County is set to receive $1.4 million in transition funding as the state changes its mental-health funding formula, but is seeking an additional $900,000 for Vera French Community Mental Health Center and the Handicapped Development Center to pay for services the agencies provided in the previous fiscal year when funding wasn’t available.
The additional $900,000 has to be something legislators need to consider as soon as they return to work this month, Scott County Administrator Dee Bruemmer told the board.
“They’ve got to decide this month or services are in jeopardy,” she said.
Hancock said legislators need to be reminded and new legislators informed about where Scott County stands on mental-health reform.
Scott County would receive a boost in state funding through the new system. Under the state's per-capita funding of mental health, Scott County should get $7.9 million through the county levy and a state equalization payment of $4.59 million for fiscal year 2014. The county has budgeted $5.7 million for mental-health services in the current fiscal year.
The per-capita formula is $47.28 per person, with Scott County's population of 167,095.
Supervisors are concerned about pooling money that would allow some counties to lower their property tax rates. They advocate, instead, for pooling new money into the system.
They also want to keep the system flexible, rather than creating more bureaucracy.