Board of Supervisors Approve Use of ARPA Funds to Expand Mental Health Services; 4-Year PSPRS Payment Plan Moves Forward
On Tuesday's Regular Board Meeting, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the Subrecipient Agreement between Cochise County and Chiricahua Community Health Centers (CCHCI) to establish a psychiatry department providing accessible mental health services to County residents and community members.
Earlier this year during a Work Session in July, the Board of Supervisors met to discuss the use of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to address the mental health concerns within Cochise County. The federal funds are available to be utilized for services and programs that address mental health treatment, substance misuse treatment, and other behavioral health services.
Through this agreement, CCHCI will be able to develop and provide easily accessible mental health services to the community. Just as with all other services provided by CCHCI, community members may simply walk into a clinic and will not be required to have health insurance in order to be treated.
According to Darlene Melk MD, CEO of Chiricahua Community Health Centers, Inc., the program will primarily treat, diagnose and manage mental health, while also providing community members with counseling and case management services.
"I'm grateful that you've stepped up with a solution to help with what we see as a severely growing problem within Cochise County," said Chairman Ann English.
In other news, the Board unanimously approved a four-year plan to fund the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS) unfunded liability by spending $2.5M in excess payments each year, over the next four years.
The County's current unfunded PSPRS liability amount is $36,750,774 with a 36.8% funded ratio. County Budget Manager Dan Duchon presented charts displaying timelines following the recommended model and projected the debt to be fully paid by 2047.
Funds for the four-year payment plan will come from three sources: $5.7M from the general fund contingency reserve, which is savings from money that came from the State in 2020 as reimbursement for public safety/health expenses; $1.3M from excess sales tax revenue from 2020-2021; and $3M from the general fund contingency - totaling $10M to be spent over the next four years.
Duchon concluded the presentation by stating that nothing is guaranteed and assets in the market could potentially decrease, and the unfunded liability could increase in the future. You may view the full presentation here.
To learn more about the other approved items and to view the meeting agenda, minutes, and video recording, visit the Cochise County Agendas & Minutes site.
Specific information to attend future meetings via Microsoft Teams desktop or mobile app, or by phone is provided on each agenda. If you have trouble accessing the meeting remotely, call 520-432-9200 for assistance.
Community members who would like to comment on an agenda item during a regular board meeting are instructed to do so by emailing the speaker request form to the Clerk of the Board at email@example.com by 5 p.m. the day before the meeting.