News Article Details

Mental Health Board allocates $1.17 million

The Register-Mail - 7/27/2019

Jul. 27--GALESBURG -- The second year of grant funding from the Knox County 708 Mental Health Board means more stability for area agencies.

In total, the 708 Board has approved $1,178,064 to 11 organizations so far. Board members will hear grant proposals from the Knox County Sheriff's Department, which would be addressing medical and mental health services for inmates, and a push to bring a Special Olympics program to Knox County in the coming weeks.

The board met Friday morning at the Knox County Annex and decided which groups would receive annual, semi-annual and quarterly grant payments. Funding comes from a property tax that is not more than 15 cents per $100 equalized assessed valuation, so the owner of a $60,000 home pays about $2.50 per month, or $30 per year.

KCCDD received the most funding with a total of $361,652, much of that for general funding of $316,252, and Bridgeway Inc. received the second-most at $312,188, the majority of that, $187,609, going to psychiatry services.

Stacy Brown, vice president of behavioral health services at Bridgeway, said psychiatry services are "incredibly limited" locally. "We provide the primary psychiatry for not only our program, but for DD Homes and others," she said.

"Without Bridgeway, the services would be nonexistent in our area."

The problem Bridgeway runs into is only about a fourth of a bill is paid by insurance when it comes to psychiatry.

"(It) loses money incredibly each year for a service that is incredibly needed," she said.

Much like a year ago, the 708 Board did fund ongoing efforts to bring more mental health/emotional health school-based counselors to area school districts. Brown said the hope this year is to add a counselor to Galesburg High School.

Galesburg District 205 received $137,409 in grant funding this year. Lombard Middle School and Churchill Junior High School both currently have Bridgeway employees, who also meet with students during the summer, as school-based counselors at those buildings.

"It's been so successful in both schools ... it's good for the students not only for their health, but their academic success and attendance," Brown said.

Mental Health Board Chairman Greg "Chops" Bacon along with board member Steve Watts spoke at Wednesday night's Knox County Board meeting about the second year of grant funding.

Bacon reiterated some of those points after Friday's meeting, including that this year was smoother than the first year.

Much like a year ago, not every agency that applied got funding. Bacon said that's because some agencies did not meet the board's and/or the state's guidelines for funding.

For example, the Child Advocacy Center requested funding last year, which was denied. But their application this year, for $19,000, was approved.

Overall, Bacon thanked members of the board and noted how well they work together. He also highlighted what the grant funding means for Knox County.

"What the taxpayers need to know is that without the 708 Board and the tax that's been levied against the people of Knox County, some of these entities would not even exist without our funding. The state has cut their funds so much and the federal government has cut their funds, they're working on a shoe-string," he said.

"Some of them would still function, but it would be very limited services to the community. What we're doing is trying to keep the services that we have going."

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