GENESEE COUNTY — A proposal to fund more mental health services in Genesee County will be on the countywide ballot this spring.
At the May 4 special election, voters will decide on whether to approve the Community Mental Health Millage, an initiative supported by Genesee Health System. If passed, the mental health millage would generate around $9.5 million for additional mental health services in the county in its first year. The levy would be 0.93 mils for 10 years, starting in 2021.
Specific services from the mental health millage would provide law enforcement and first responders with mental health/ crisis training, while addressing court/corrections mental health supports and services, suicide and crisis prevention, school crisis and de-escalation and health and wellness for vulnerable populations.
“Community mental health is a critically important service to every community, especially in today’s pandemic environment that throws challenges at us every day,” said Dan Russell, CEO of Genesee Health System. “The millage that will appear on the May 4, 2021 ballot is a reinforcement of Genesee Health System’s commitment to reaching as many residents of our community as possible and aiding them on their journey to wellness and recovery.”
Russell said that 100 percent of the millage funds would be allocated to Genesee Health System to meet mental health needs in an appropriate setting and reduce the burden on the county jail to care and house inmates who need mental health treatment.
“Jail is not the best place for someone with mental health issues that led to non-violent criminal activities,” he said. “In coordination with our Sheriff’s office, we can provide de-escalation training that leads to better outcomes for our officers as well.”
Supporters of the millage have said that the measure will promote flexible spending to cover populations that are not eligible for Medicaid, while also providing services to homeless residents and reaching out to school counselors to support student mental health.
If the measure is approved by voters, Genesee County would become the seventh county in the state to have a mental health millage.
Funding for the millage’s seven areas of focus would be invested as follows: Law Enforcement/First Responders CIT Mental Health Response Team ($521,000); Law Enforcement/ Mental Health Co-Response and Jail Diversion ($3,270,059); Court/ Corrections Mental Health Supports and Services ($521,000); Suicide and Crisis Prevention ($521,000); Prevention and Crisis De-Escalation in schools ($971,000); Crisis Center/ Crisis Stabilization ($3,270,059); and Health and Wellness for Vulnerable Populations ($521,000).
The following local authorities would be expected to capture and receive disbursement of a portion of the County’s property tax levy for the proposed millage:
City of Clio Corridor Improvement Authority (“CIA”), Downtown Development Authority (“DDA”), and Neighborhood Improvement Authority (“NIA”); City of Davison DDA and Local Development Finance Authority (“LFDA”); City of Fenton DDA and LFDA; City of Flushing NIA and CIA; City of Grand Blanc DDA; City of Linden DDA; City of Montrose DDA; City of Swartz Creek DDA; Genesee County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and Land Bank Authority; Davison Township DDA; Flint Township DDA, Beecher Road CIA, and Bristol Road CIA; Grand Blanc Township DDA; Hill Road CIA; Mt. Morris Township Business Development Authority (“BDA”); Mundy Township DDA and Hill Road CIA; Vienna Township BDA; Village of Lennon DDA; Village of Otisville DDA; and Village of Otter Lake.
For more information about the Community Mental Health millage, visit geneseethefuture.org.