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LETTER: Jeremy Taylor urges 'thoughtful research' on mental health issue

Sioux City Journal - 4/8/2018

The decision to petition into one of the most highly respected mental health regions in western Iowa, Rolling Hills, was made after careful deliberation and thoughtfulness. There's a reason Rolling Hills will have added its third county while Sioux Rivers will lose its second. The decision is for the long-term health of the 102,779 citizens we are charged to serve in Woodbury County.

I would hope Rep. Chris Hall (of Sioux City) would take some time to learn the perspective of Siouxland Mental Health, where over 60 percent of funding goes, along with visiting their Friendship House and Crisis Center, and do just a little fiscal homework.

Yes, I recommended a budget of $3.3 million for FY 19 in comparison to Sioux Rivers spending $4.3 million in FY 18. In his April 1 Inside the Capitol submission in The Journal, Hall claims these services "only" cost $3.1 million. Hogwash. Woodbury County is the fiscal agent and can show payments of over $4.3 million.

Legally, Woodbury County can only tax for a maximum of $3,133,731 based on its population. So how is it that last year's spending exceeds by $1 million what's allowable to be levied annually? Sioux Rivers Region last year relied on one-time reserves they admit will not be there in two years with $1 million in necessary reductions in the near future.

Ironically, the state will allow a greater spending authority of $4,387,635 in Rolling Hills.

I would urge thoughtful research. In addition to listening to our largest provider, keep long-term fiscal health in mind - something that goes hand-in-hand with high quality mental health services. - Jeremy Taylor, Sioux City, Woodbury County supervisor


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