Letter to the Editor

A county perspective on mental health funding

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

As the chairman of the Northwest Iowa Cares Connection Mental Health Regional Board, I feel I need to respond to Representative John Wills "The True Story" column in the July 17 edition of The Dickinson County News, as it gives the impression that all is financially well in the mental health world.

While I won't dispute my friend's figures when saying that there was a combined total $121.6 million in "combined ending fund balances." I would ask that you consider the word "combined." It means that if you threw every region's ending fund balances together you would have $121.6 million dollars — seemingly quite a bit — and giving the impression that there is plenty of money in Iowa's mental health system.

However, it would be like saying the citizens of the United States have a combined bank account of $548 trillion. That would mean we have no poor people right? Wrong, some folks have more and some less. To illustrate the point I have enclosed a chart detailing possible future funding for the NWICCMH region. Jayson Vande Hoeff (Osceola county board member) and I created this after Governor Reynolds announced that we could recertify our county budgets after she announced the children's mental health system.

PREDICTIONS FOR NWICC FINANCIALS

ASSUMPTIONS

• The population of the Region will remain at 62,307 (2017 census)

• Projected 2019 carryover is $2,819,594

• The budget will remain static at $2,681,913

• The formula is: carryover minus budget plus levy funds equals the next year's carryover

IF THE LEVY IS $15 FOR THE FIRST YEAR AND $30.30 IN SUBSEQUENT YEARS

2020: $2,819,594 - $2,681,913 = $137,681 + (62,307 x $15) $934,606 = $1,072,286 (2020 Carryover)

2021: $1,072,286 - $2,681,913 = -$1,609,627 + (62,307 x $30.30) $1,887,902.1 = $278,275.10 (2021 Carryover)

2022 : $278,275.10 - $2,681,913 = -$2,403,637.90 + $1,887,902.1 = -$515,735.80

IF THE LEVY IS $20 FOR THE FIRST YEAR AND $30.30 IN SUBSEQUENT YEARS

2020: $2,819,594 - $2,681,913 = $137,681 + (62,307 x $20.00) $1,246,140 = $1,383,821 (2020 Carryover)

2021: $1,383,821 - $2,681,913 = - $1,298,092 + (62,307 x $30.30) $1,887,902.10 = $589,810.10(2021Carryover

2022: $589,810.10 - $2,681,913 = -2,092,102 + $1,887,902.10 = -$204,200.90

IF THE LEVY IS $23.28 FOR THE FIRST YEAR AND $30.30 IN SUBSEQUENT YEARS

2020: $2,819,594 - $2,681,913 = $137,681 + (62,307 x $23.28) $1,450,506 = $1,588,187.90 (2020 Carryover)

2021: $1,588,187.90 - $2,681,913= -$1,093,725.10 + (62,307 x $30.30) $1,887,902.10 = $794,177 (2021 Carryover)

2022: $794,177 - $2,681,913= -$1,887,736 + $1,887,902.10 = $166

IF THE LEVY CAP OF $30.30 IS USED BEGINNING IN 2020

2020: $2,819,594 - $2,681,913 = $137,681 + (62,307 x $30.30) $1,887,902.10 = $2,025,583.10 (2021 Carryover)

2021: $2,025,583.10 - $2,681,913 = - $656,329.99 + $1,887,902.10 = $1,231,572.20 (2021 Carryover)

2022: $1,231,572.20 - $2,681,913 = -$1,450,340.80 + $1,887,902.10 = $437,561.30 (2022 Carryover)

2023: $437,561.30 - $2,681,913 = - $2,244,351.70 + $1,887,902.10 = - $356,449.60

Using these figures the board members of NWICC tried to pursue their home county supervisors to approve the $23.28 option. Only Clay County agreed to do that. Now, don’t take this as hard heartedness by the other supervisors in our region. Those I talked to said that: "While we support those who are mentally ill we believe that the state and federal government need to step up to the plate."

When we first started the region, the State thought that $47.28 per person was a good sum for mental health, and was willing to backfill any county's levies that were below that figure. For our region it is now $30.30 with no backfill. Trust me folks, the cost of mental health has not decreased, all is not financially well in Iowa's mental health world and that's the true story.

W.C. Leupold — Orleans

NWICC Chairman

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