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At the June 5, 2024 Board of Commissioners Meeting the Board voted 8 – 1 to place the renewal and restoration of the Mental Health and Public Safety Preservation Millage on the 2024 General Election Ballot. The millage, which was first passed by voters with a 2-1 margin in 2017, has expanded community mental health and public safety services, leading to a 109% increase in access to mental health and substance abuse treatment across Washtenaw County and an investment of $5.3 million in diversion and deflection programs.   

The Board began discussing the renewal and restoration of the millage during the March 6 Working Session, and deliberated through the following eight meetings, receiving a great deal of public input from those both for and against the millage.     

“Throughout this process, the Board has prioritized public input, ensuring that the voices of our community were heard at multiple meetings and townhalls over the span of four months across Washtenaw County,” Commissioner Justin Hodge, District 5, Chair of the Board. “The Mental Health and Public Safety Millage has had an enormous impact on our communities, supporting programs that help families help kids, interrupt retaliatory violence, and increase access to critical mental health services. As a social worker and professor of social work, I understand the importance of mental health awareness, crisis response programs, and supportive housing initiatives. I encourage voters to learn all they can about this millage before they cast their ballot in November.”   

The Board’s vote will keep the original funding split as is, with 38% going to the Sheriff’s Office, 38% going to Community Mental Health, and 24% being used as a rebate to cities and townships with their own police force.  

“I am proud to be one of the authors of the original Mental Health and Public Safety Preservation Millage when it was first placed on the ballot in 2017. I have always believed in the importance of a thorough and inclusive process, and hearing from the community has been paramount in refining and improving this millage,” Commissioner Andy LaBarre, District 7. “I have remained committed to ensuring that the Board crafts a proposal that reflects the needs and concerns of all community members. The collaborative effort we have engaged in over the past four months has allowed us to craft a policy we can all stand behind, one that will continue to make a significant positive impact in our communities.”     

Along with the deliberation on the millage, the Board has been concurrently crafting the Millage Expenditure Ordinance, which is an internal policy that dictates how the dollars can be spent and managed. Commissioner Annie Somerville, District 6, has led the effort to amend the Public Safety section of the ordinance with a focus on people-facing programs that support mental health and behavioral health services, rapid rehousing and permanent supportive housing, and community violence interruption.   

“The changes that I’ve proposed to the ordinance is my best effort to accommodate people who both want the millage to stay the same and people who want to dollars to be more invested in mental health and human-focused needs.” Commissioner Annie Somerville, District 6. “By addressing the current issues our community is facing through this ordinance, I have aimed to bring the millage up to date and ensure it serves the evolving needs of our community.”   

You can learn more about the programs that have been funded by Community Mental Health in the 2022 Millage impact report and by the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office in the Millage Investment and Impact Report. 

 

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