County's payment to SEIL will increase by a nickel next year
BY BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
Henry County’s contribution to the Southeast Iowa Link (SEIL), the mental health and disability services region for southeast Iowa, will edge slightly higher during the next fiscal year.
In fiscal 2017, the county is being assessed $35.00 per capita. For the next fiscal year, SEIL is asking for a nickel ($35.05) increase per capita.
Fiscal year 2016 SEIL expenditures totaled $5,205,806, according to Ryanne Wood, SEIL CEO. “We anticipate an increase in expenditures for FY17 as we have continued to grow and develop additional core services,” Wood wrote in a letter to the participating counties.
In addition to Henry County, Des Moines, Jefferson, Keokuk, Lee, Louisa, Van Buren and Washington counties comprise the region.
Wood said there are some services being planned which will require more capital. Some of those services are a 24-hour crisis line, crisis intervention training, permanent supported housing, and peer and family support services. Wood also anticipates federal and state funding modifications.
Fiscal 2018’s SEIL budget calls for revenue from the participating counties to total $5,748,656.
Sarah Berndt, Henry County coordinator of disability services for mental health/general assistance director, presented Wood’s letter to county supervisors Thursday during the board’s regular meeting.
Money for the county’s contribution can come from existing mental health account balance, a levy or a combination of fund balance and levy. For fiscal 2017, the county did not levy for mental health, choosing instead to spend down the fund balance in the mental health account.
Berndt said nearly $500,000 remains in the account after $242,000 has been spent during the current fiscal year. “If we spent the same amount each year, we would not exhaust the funds for three years,” Berndt said.
Supervisors, however, said they are leery of possible state and federal mental-health funding cuts.
“We are okay next year, but it is the following year that worries me,” said board vice chair Marc Lindeen.
Supervisor Greg Moeller questioned how long it would take to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, if the new administration and Congress chooses to do so. “I heard it will take three years,” answered Gary See, board chairman.
“You are going to have to determine if you are going to levy (for mental health) and how much,” Berndt told the board.
She noted that the county, which now is the host county for the jail transition program, will spend $150,000 on the program this year but revenue of $116,000 from other participating counties will offset most of that sum.
“Henry County spends about $1,300-$1,500 monthly to participate in the transition link,” Berndt remarked. “The program is different in every single county and that is the way we want it.”
In her general assistance report, Berndt said November was a slow month. “We didn’t have a lot of traffic. We had seven contacts and four were determined ineligible immediately.”
She also noted that the county set aside money for nine burials for indigents this year compared to seven in last year’s fiscal budget. “Nine seems to be a good number now. Before, we sometimes had to move money from other line items (to pay for an excess of seven burials), but it didn’t affect the bottom line.”
County supervisors will meet again in regular session Tuesday, Dec. 27, at 9 a.m. in the courthouse. Prior to the meeting, re-elected county officers (See, Moeller, Auditor Shelly Barber and Sheriff Rich McNamee) will take the oath of office.