San Joaquin County Slow To Develop Mental Health Funding Plan, Some Advocates Say
Some mental health advocates say that San Joaquin County is lagging behind the rest of the state in developing a spending plan for mental health care funding approved under Proposition 63, leading to concerns that the release of funds for the county could be delayed, the Stockton Record reports. Other counties already have held public meetings to discuss spending plans, but no meeting dates have been set in San Joaquin.
San Joaquin could receive as much as $14 million of the $800 million expected to be raised annually under Proposition 63, which state voters approved in November 2004. Proposition 63 raises the state income tax by 1% for residents whose annual incomes exceed $1 million to fund mental health services.
Bruce Hopperstad, director of the county Mental Health Board, said that the county plans to hold more than 100 meetings and that the county is hiring a consultant to organize the meetings. Hopperstad said, "The whole process is taking longer than we thought."
San Joaquin has been given $240,000 to host the public meetings, which are required by the state.
According to the Record, Mental Health Board Chair Cary Martin tried to organize meetings in 2004, but "the county wouldn't allow it."
Hopperstad said that the delays might slow the release of Proposition 63 funds to the county, the Record reports.
There are about 21,000 low-income residents in need of mental health services in San Joaquin County, according to county estimates.
Dennis Buettner, a county advocate for the homeless, said, "We could use the money right this minute" (Carroll, Stockton Record, 5/9).