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Voters to decide on mental health center Saturday

1 week 4 days 2 hours ago Friday, December 07 2018 Dec 7, 2018 December 07, 2018 6:38 AM December 07, 2018 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- A once failed mental health tax is back on the ballot for Saturday's election. In 2016, the then two millage tax didn't have enough muscle to pass, but now, it may.

It's now at 1.5. millage rate if passed, it would generate 6 million dollars a year for a decade. Homeowners of a 200 hundred thousand dollar property would pay a $ 1.50 each month.

This new bridge center would be housed in vacated space at the Baton Rouge General location on Florida Boulevard and that 6 million dollar price tag would be what the center needs to operate each year.

It would include new treatment options patients, and families do not have access to right now. Current Bridge Center Chair, Kathy sat down with me yesterday and said no programs would be duplicated and the center would work in conjunction with existing mental health services.

She calls the center, a big missing piece, saying right now mental health patients have two places to go, the emergency room, which takes up space and funds or to jail, adding to the state's already large prison population.

The center would include a respite center for short-term care, a sober center, a mobile unit able to go to patients or law enforcement situations in need of mental health experts as well as social workers helping patients continue treatment.

Homeowners will pay just about a $ 1.50 a month for this mental health center. That comes out to just over $18 a year.

“I always think of it in terms of 'gosh it's like three cups of Starbucks coffee. You know, who can't give up three cups of Starbucks coffee in a year's time to be able to fund this center. It's a very small amount,” Kliebert said.

Polls will open bright and early Saturday from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. if you're in line by then you can vote.

Kliebert says if this tax passes, they hope to be up and running in six to nine months since they will not be spending time or tax dollars on building a new facility. Instead, opting to run out of the BRG facility on Florida Blvd.

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