When the taxpayers of Seneca County voted in a new tax in 2008 for mental health and substance abuse services, the board's campaign promise was to share how levy funds were used from 2009 through 2013.
The previous letters have shown the local initiatives that the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board has funded. They were: crisis intervention training, the Suicide Prevention Coalition, LifeSkills, Family Intervention Court; Care Teams, Bisenius anti-bullying and in-school counseling.
I hope you have enjoyed reading these letters to learn how your tax dollars have been used from fiscal year 2009 through fiscal year 2013.
The process of how the decisions are made regarding programs to fund begins with levy funds (theoretically) placed into three pots of money to be used as follows:
About 10 percent of Seneca County levy funds are used to fund the operation of the board office. The board has three staff members, making it one of the lowest-staffed offices among Mental Health and Recovery Services Boards. It has an administrative budget of less than 8 percent that includes office lease, equipment, salaries, travel and office insurances.
Between 15 percent and 25 percent of Seneca County levy funds subsidize local initiatives for community organizations, which includes set-aside funds for CIT and Suicide Prevention Coalition.
The remaining 65 percent of levy funds subsidize client services for treatment through Firelands Counseling and Recovery Services. Firelands is this board's main treatment provider because it is certified by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services. It has offices in Tiffin, Bellevue and Fostoria in Seneca County. Staff is available 24/7/365 for emergency and crisis services.
The Mental Health and Recovery Services Board exists to serve the public. Its federal, state and local funds are used to subsidize treatment services for individuals at appropriate agencies. The board authorizes subsidized payment for services using family income as one determinant; insurance is another. Services are based upon an assessment of the individual and the availability of the service.
The Mental Health and Recovery Services Board asks that voters renew the 0.8-mill, five-year levy that costs about $2 a month for the owner of a $100,000 house. A healthy, successful community depends upon the health of its citizens.
If you would like more information, please call the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties at (419) 448-0640. The board's office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
Nancy Cochran, executive director