Modesto Bee Examines Impact of Proposition 63 Funding in Stanislaus County
Health agencies in Stanislaus County are expected to receive $2 million in Proposition 63 funding for mental health services this fiscal year and as much as $4 million annually beginning in fiscal year 2007, the Modesto Bee reports.
The funding will come at a "critical period" for the county Behavioral Health and Recovery Services department, which began this fiscal year with a $5.6 million budget shortfall, and the Health Services Agency, which has an $8.6 million budget deficit that is "threatening clinic closures and major staff reductions," the Bee reports.
Although Proposition 63 was approved 53% to 46% statewide, the measure was defeated in Stanislaus County by 245 votes.
Regardless of public support for the measure, the outlook for mental health services in the county is directly tied to the funding, according to Denise Hunt, director of BHRS. Hunt said the agency has focused on cutting staff, rather than eliminating services, to reduce costs.
Budget restraints led to 11 BHRS employees being laid off or transferred in fiscal year 2004 -2005, the Bee reports.
Since March, Hunt has led public meetings to address the county's mental health needs. Input from the meetings will be used to help develop a spending plan for the Proposition 63 funds. The spending plan must be approved by the Board of Supervisors and the state.
Hunt said she would like Proposition 63 funds to be used for programs that target low-income workers and the uninsured (Hood, Modesto Bee, 8/8).