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Commission approves funds

St. Joseph County’s Board of Commissioners agreed Tuesday to cover a six-digit dollar amount request from Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

The commission unanimously approved an allocation in excess of $168,000 to the agency.

What was labeled a one-time request for the funds from CMH sparked a lengthy discussion by commissioners. The five-member panel criticized state legislators for the inadequate funding of the county’s CMHSAS agency.

The shortfall was requested by CMHSAS executive director Liz O’Dell.

Though she was not present Tuesday, O’Dell afterward said the state is simply giving the agency less money than what it takes to service its clients.

She said the agency has a $15 million budget. Its budget, however, is categorical, and the funding for Medicaid Extension – more casually known as Healthy Michigan – has taken a financial toll on the county’s CMHSAS.

Commissioners agreed that she should attend the commission’s June 17 meeting for additional discussions.