DES MOINES, Iowa – The Polk County Board of Supervisors is waiting to make final decisions on budgets based on what legislators pass for the state, some of those decisions include funding towards mental health.
Gov. Kim Reynolds is proposing an increase to the sales state tax by one penny to create a sustainable funding source for mental health.
If passed, it would create about $120 million in funding.
According to Polk County Board Supervisor Matt McCoy, Polk County would see around $18 million, but would still need to find about $10 million to support current needs.
“If that fails and we don’t have the support from the state we could be in a potential situation where we would have to make tough decisions and some of those decisions would be to get rid of all non-core services and perhaps look at waiting lists,” McCoy said.
McCoy said one example of a non-core service would be a one-time living expense. That could range from paying the difference in rent or helping pay for transportation to a therapy session.
“We would try to first of all work with the state to try and find solutions. In the past they have given us one time opportunities to use general fund money from the Polk County general fund budget into these services for mental health,” McCoy said.
Another resource the county has used is a partnership with Broadlawns.
“At the start of July 1 new fiscal year we would need to have that reauthorized in some way and then obviously Broadlawns would have to be in agreement with that to allow us to have the funds needed, because without these funds, without this additional $10 million we would not be able to provide the services, because we are prohibited by state law,” McCoy said.
Polk County Health Services is required to provide core services like counseling, therapy, medication management, speech therapy, and services for autism.
McCoy said the Polk County Health Services budget is estimated to increase by $6 million for the next fiscal year.
The state budget is estimated to be finalized in the next month or so.