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County May Receive Stimulus Funding For Mental Health

By Staff | Nov 10, 2009

The consequences of Governor Chet Culver’s 10 percent across-the-board state budget cuts are being felt in offices at the county level, but a small portion of funding is finding its way back into the county pocketbook.

Maureen Sandberg, with the Palo Alto County General Relief office, updated the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors on the action during their weekly meeting on Nov. 3.

“We found out at our CPC meeting last week that the property tax relief that Palo Alto County receives will be cut 10 percent, which is $40,000, however we’re going to get a little money back,” said Sandberg.

Sandberg explained that the extra dollars are considered “ARRA money” as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The federal stimulus funding will be distributed through Upper Des Moines Opportunity. There are stipulations on use of the funds, however. Those stipulations say the money may not be used for Medicaid costs.

“Medicaid costs would be the ICFMR county costs that we pay, the waiver costs that we pay, case management costs that we pay, all which amounts to about $500,000 that we pay,” noted Sandberg.

Sandberg added that the federal government has informed the county that they will need to submit a weekly report on how much of the ARRA money they’ve spent and what the money has been used for.

“We’ll probably not get more than $25,000 or $30,000. It won’t take long to use up,” said Sandberg. “We’ll likely apply the money to go towards the county’s mental health costs.”

In other General Relief updates, Sandberg stated that because of the 10 percent across-the-board cuts, there will be a waiting list for new state cases starting Nov. 1. Applications for heating assistance were also being taken starting Nov. 1.