The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

October 12, 2012

Forum opens debate on mental health

CLINTON — Citizens got the chance to learn more about the mental health redesign and get some answers about the new bill that may impact the county greatly.

Iowans with Disabilities in Action and Iowa Office of Consumer Affairs provided an open forum for the community Thursday at Clinton Community College.

“There is still an awful lot we don’t know yet,” Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council Public Policy Manager Rik Shannon said. “We’re not here to say it’s a good or bad bill. We’re just here to keep you informed.”

Iowans with Disabilities in Action is a nonpartisan project that was launched to help better represent Iowans with disabilities. ID Action is designed to increase the active participation of Iowans with disabilities in political and civic opportunities that promote positive change.

State legislators passed the bill on mental health and disability redesign in late May. All counties will move toward a statewide average in property taxes collected for mental-health services at $47.28. Some counties, like Clinton, will take large cuts, while others will see little change. Currently Clinton County taxpayers pay $58.71. With the new tax rate, the county will lose more than $10 per taxpayer leading to a $561,224 budget cut for the county’s mental health services.

“There is a big inequity across the state, some counties have more mental health coverage than others,” Shannon said. “This bill is just an attempt to equalize spending.”

The bill was brought forward as a way to even out services available across the state. Counties now raise about $125 million annually from those taxes, but their tax rates vary widely, leading to vastly different levels of service in different areas of the state. Regionalization is also a big part of the plan. Mental health services will change from being managed by county supervisors to regional boards consisting of supervisors from multiple counties. Clinton recently teamed up with Cedar, Jackson, Muscatine and Scott counties to form a regional mental health board.

Major changes affect core services, eligibility for services and Medicaid. Core services are expanded and must be available to people regardless of where they live and who pays their bill, but only as funding allows. Eligibility for services will be limited to contain costs. People with developmental disabilities and brain injuries are left off the list of those eligible, while those with intellectual disabilities and mental illnesses will remain eligible. The cost of Medicaid services will shift to the state. Non-medicaid services and services to people not eligible for Medicaid will be paid for with county property taxes.

The community conversation provided a place for those with disabilities, advocates, family members, and providers to start talking about mental health and disability redesign, and what it means to the community. This new system has left many with questions, several of which were answered at the forum.

“It’s a confusing bill and the vast majority of the community doesn’t understand or know all the details,” Rep. Mary Wolfe, of Clinton, said. Wolfe voted against the bill.

“I’m a lawyer and I found it hard to understand at first.”

Clinton County will see cuts to mental health programs and services as a result of the bill. Bridgeview Community Health Center, the county’s only psychiatric care facility, will face a $465,000 loss of a mental health block grant. Several other local mental health agencies in the area are expected to suffer from redesign budget cuts and the complete elimination of mental health block grants including Pathway Living Center, Cornerstone Wellness Center and Clinton County Case Management.

“Even when the election is over, we need to keep this issue in front of the people,” Shannon said.


Text Only
Local News
  • John Hood A year after 'chaos'

    It happened two hours after John Hood finished his run. Like many, he thought the loud boom was just the sound of cannons going off, something that shook the ground. It was odd, but Hood — a 1989 Clinton High School graduate — tried to make it logical, associating the noise with another good happening at the Boston Marathon.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clinton looks into roadway safety upgrades Herald Staff Report Clinton looks into roadway safety upgrades

    April 19, 2014

  • Theft trial for man charged in Wolfe sisters' murders

    A western Pennsylvania man accused of having robbed and killed his next-door neighbors, two sisters of Iowa Rep. Mary Wolfe, now also faces trial on charges that he stole another woman's wedding ring a year ago.

    State police in Greensburg allege that 43-year-old Allen Wade of East Liberty, Pa., stole the ring while delivering a refrigerator to a home in April 2013. Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Rita Hathaway on Thursday agreed to schedule the case for trial.

    April 18, 2014

  • More felonies added to sex abuse charges CLINTON -- A Clinton man already facing multiple felony charges for allegedly sexually abusing a child is now facing six more felonies for sexual exploitation of a child. Tony D. James, 45, was charged this past weekend with six counts of sexual expl

    April 18, 2014

  • Wildlife service to conduct burnings CLINTON -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct several prescribed burns this spring. The burns will take place on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in Carroll and Jo Daviess counties. Sites planned for burning

    April 18, 2014

  • Women jailed on meth charges

    CLINTON -- Two Clinton women are currently being held in the Clinton County jail on $50,000 cash-only bonds for methamphetamine charges. Jessica L. Crabtree, 29, 215 10th Ave. North, and Tera A. Riddle, 27, 611 1/2 S. Seventh St., were arrested last

    April 18, 2014

  • Photo exhibit 2 'Hats Off' Art exhibit covers downtown (With Map & Video)

    CLINTON -- A clown. Clinton High wrestlers. An expecting mother. A young Mozart. These faces and more all peered through downtown storefronts Thursday. They're there again today, too. Looking back at them was photographer Jean Black. They are her way

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • Fire alarm evacuation at Eagle Heights

    Students of Eagle Heights Elementary School were evacuated Thursday afternoon after staff smelled something being emitted in the first-grade hallway and main office areas.

    According to a press release from the Clinton Community School District, staff noticed the smell at approximately 1:10 p.m. It was then determined the fire department should be notified, and the fire alarm was pulled. The building was evacuated quickly and the Clinton Fire Department responded immediately.

    April 17, 2014

  • UPDATED: McColley found not guilty of sex abuse

    Relief showed on the faces of Russell McColley and his family Thursday as a verdict of not guilty was read in court.
    "Our prayers were answered, that's all I have to say," Tracy Hook, McColley's sister, said.
    McColley was facing a charge of second-degree sexual abuse. If he had been convicted of the class B felony, he could have faced as much as 25 years in prison.

    April 17, 2014

  • Court denies man's appeal in robbery CLINTON -- The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld a conviction of a man who robbed a Clinton pawn shop in 2012. Darrell L. Thomas recently appealed his first-degree robbery conviction to the Iowa Court of Appeals. The court released its decision Wednes

    April 17, 2014

Clinton Herald photos

Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.