Proposed Lane County budget is structurally balanced and includes funding for new behavioral crisis center

Proposed Lane County budget is structurally balanced and includes funding for new behavioral crisis center
Posted on 05/02/2019

The proposed 2019-2020 budget for Lane County is, for the third year in a row, structurally balanced without the use of reserves and includes no layoffs or reductions in services.

 

Responsible management of taxpayer resources has resulted in an increase in the County’s credit rating, reduction in debt costs, little to no increase in medical claims costs per employee for four years in a row, and several local, state and national awards. In 2018, Lane County was ranked as the #1 healthiest public employer in Oregon and the #40 healthiest employer in the nation.

 

“The financial stability we have created is the result of focused efforts to proactively manage and reduce internal expenses, such as PERS, health insurance and debt costs,” said County Administrator Steve Mokrohisky. “This stability has allowed us to put more funding into direct services to our residents and to reinvest in services that improve lives in our communities.”

 

One of the most notable investments in the proposed budget is the use of $1 million in one-time prior year property tax settlement funds from Comcast to seed the creation of a 24-hour/7-day-per-week behavioral crisis center to divert people experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis away from jail and emergency rooms. The proposed center will use evidence-based practices to treat mental health and substance abuse issues while lowering costs to the overall public safety system. The County is working to identify additional community partners, starting with those involved in the Mental Health Summit, to help launch this center.

 

“Right now, more than 6 out of 10 inmates in the Lane County Jail have a documented mental illness or substance abuse disorder,” said Mokrohisky. “We can and must do better to address the root causes of homelessness, while improving community safety and lowering the cost to our taxpayers. We believe this facility will be the first step toward permanent housing and stability for people struggling with a behavioral crisis.”

 

Additionally, the proposed budget includes funding to implement the first phase of the Public Shelter Feasibility Study to efficiently and effectively make use of existing resources. Lane County and the City of Eugene approved the study earlier this year and committed to working together, along with other community partners, to implement opportunities identified in the study.

 

The Budget Committee will meet multiple times during the next two weeks to receive information from each County department. The Budget Committee will have the opportunity to approve the proposed budget and any recommended changes on May 16. The approved budget will then appear before the Board of County Commissioners for potential adoption on June 18.


The full proposed budget, as well as the Budget Committee meeting schedule, is available on the Lane County website at www.lanecounty.org/budget.