Ventura County approves $ 2.55 billion budget for provision of mental health services


Ventura County has approved a $ 2.55 billion budget for the county which is providing expanded mental health services, pandemic assistance and the addition of hundreds of additional staff to take over 18 medical clinics.

The unanimous supervisory board decision on Monday clears for the fiscal year beginning July 1 a spending plan for more than two dozen county agencies providing law enforcement, health care, libraries and d ‘other services. Spending is expected to increase by 4%, or $ 98 million, in the current year.

Supervisors said the budget reflected their priorities, including expanding the county’s inpatient psychiatric unit to full capacity, strengthening public health programs, housing the homeless and preparing for disasters.

“In all my years on the board, I haven’t seen us being able to devote so many resources to the things that matter most to the company and to us,” said President Linda Parks, who has been a supervisor for almost 19 years.

The county’s inpatient unit, the Hillmont Psychiatric Center, will reach its full authorized capacity of 43 beds under the new budget. The number of places in an outpatient crisis unit at Hillmont will increase from 8 to 12.

The budget also provides ongoing support to year-round shelters and other programs aimed at reducing and preventing homelessness. The county is considering additional state and federal funding to improve these programs, officials said.

Total county government staff will reach a record high of 9,862, driven by the transfer of around 700 staff from private clinics to government jobs. County Health Care Agency directors backed the takeover to increase profitability and comply with recent labor rulings.

After:Ventura County Budget Proposal Up 4% As Focus Remains On COVID-19 Recovery

ICYMI:A full psychiatric unit could expand, easing the expectations of patients in crisis

In a late Monday amendment, Parks recommended adding a $ 100,000 item to help implement climate change programs. Supervisor Kelly Long said she wanted to see a strategy before approving the position, but voted for the budget without requesting a separate vote on the new position.

The other supervisors supported the new position, authorized for a fixed term, capped at three years. The county currently has around half a dozen employees dedicated to implementing the county’s climate action plan for unincorporated communities.

“There is clearly going to be a need to build on the efforts already underway,” said supervisor Matt LaVere, adding his support to the post.

Other highlights of the new budget:

  • Business inspection fees totaling about $ 3.6 million will be waived to help restaurants and tattoo parlors recover from losses linked to the pandemic.
  • Initiatives funded in this fiscal year will carry over to the new one, including nutrition programs for homebound elderly and disabled people, vaccine distribution and grants for small businesses.
  • Funding was approved to expand two programs: one that helps farm workers resolve work-related complaints and another designed to promote equity, inclusion and diversity in county government.
  • Three fire stations in Ojai, Santa Paula and Thousand Oaks will be built.

Kathleen Wilson covers Ventura County government, including the county health system, politics, and social services. Reach her at [email protected] or 805-437-0271.

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