LETTER: Jeremy Taylor addresses mental health services

June 26, 2018 GMT

Woodbury County is trying in every way to keep the greater good: high-quality mental health services. However, as the Taxpayers Research Council stated in a guest Opinion column on Sunday, we must have protections for taxpayers so that these services are not jeopardized.

We have consistently approached issues with respect, fairness and fact-based integrity. For example, contrary to the claim of a Plymouth County supervisor in a guest Opinion column on Sunday, Woodbury County did report at its May 29 board meeting DHS’ opinion that they did not have time to review the legality of levying at a higher, separate rate for fiscal 2019. https://youtu.be/_8c7HKf2GJY (time mark 13:20 – 14:14).

Woodbury County has a deep interest in the Crisis & Stabilization Center in Sioux City that serves our most vulnerable. (For this reason, I applaud Supervisor Keith Radig who plans to ask at the next Sioux Rivers board meeting that Sioux Rivers fully fund an impending cut to Siouxland Mental Health’s nursing operations and tighten the belt in other budget areas). If Lyon or O’Brien counties do not vote to leave Northwest Iowa Care Connections to instead join and give Sioux Rivers a third county, DHS has made clear that Sioux Rivers, having lost Cherokee and now Woodbury, would not meet the three-county minimum. The Crisis Center situation will be resolved under this scenario because Plymouth-Sioux would not be able to lay claim to it as a part of Sioux Rivers because that region would cease to exist and Woodbury County would pay Plymouth-Sioux its initial share. Even if Sioux Rivers continues past July 1, 2019, we believe it’s in everyone’s interest to do this because more than 90 percent of clients are from Woodbury and we have contributed more than 60 percent of the initial costs. However, we knew that including it in our proposed Sioux Rivers Memorandum of Understanding for fiscal 2019 would be a bridge too far for Plymouth and Sioux and so did not do so.

The MOU’s only real stipulation is protecting a stable budget for 2018-2019 unless we unanimously agree to exceed it. It’s just as much in Plymouth or Sioux County taxpayers’ interests as it is in ours and provides a bridge for the future of all three counties. - Jeremy Taylor, Sioux City, Woodbury County supervisor