Editor’s Note: Due to the Labor Day Holiday the Greenwood City Council meeting was moved to Tuesday Sep. 4. The Greenwood Democrat will report on Tuesday nights meeting in the Sep. 12 edition.
At the September meeting of the Greenwood City Council the council is scheduled to discuss an ordinance that would set up an interlocal agreement for a CSU (Crisis Stabilization Unit).
Sebastian County Judge, David Hudson, is expected to speak at the meeting to provide some clarity.
CSUs are short-term clinical facilities that provide assessment and treatment services for offenders with behavioral health conditions, according to a news release from Hutchinson. A primary goal of the state’s investment in CSUs is to reduce the number of people with mental illness and other behavioral health conditions entering jails or other facilities, such as emergency rooms, not designed to effectively address their underlying behavioral health conditions.
CSUs also have the potential to improve outcomes for people with acute behavioral health conditions and reduce overall system costs to both the state and counties, including the strain on county jails. Sebastian County officials previously have said the units would help ease the jail population strain at local facilities.
At the Aug. meeting the council rejected the agreement because, in the words of City Attorney, Mike Hamby, the agreement is “broad and vague” and has an unknown cost. Hamby stated that their are cost involved for officer training and that costs are determined by an oversight committee who will use $1.6 million from the state, bill insurance, bill Medicaid and then distribute the balance remaining between the participating counties and cities, which will be a floating number from year to year.
Hamby explained that the treatment costs are estimated at $350 per day, per patient and that any reimbursed amount will be averaged among all patients and that Greenwood would pay a shared cost for all patients. Also maintenance and operation charges will be additional and that the county will send an itemized bill each month. Should the city decide not to participate in the agreement then they would not be allowed to take an individual to the facility.
Greenwood Police Captain, Richie Wolford, confirmed that the city has approximately 3-4 individuals per year that would qualify for the CSU.
“The thing that made me most anxious was that the cost seems ill defined,” said Alderman, Lee Johnson. “It does not seem to be specific to our community. There is no doubt that this is a good idea. The Crisis Center is needed and is something the community needs more of. It is going to be overwhelmed by the amount of people that need this kind of service, but it does make me anxious to sign what seems like a blank check.”
Johnson, AC Brown and Rod Powell voted to approve the ordinance. Daniel McDaniel, Tim Terry and Lance Terry voted no. The motion failed for a lack of a majority.
In other business the council will discuss:
Repeal and replacing the fireworks ordinance.
A resolution for the education and training policy.
The confirmation and reappointment of A&P commissioners.
Confirmation and reappointment of planning commission members.
The Boys and Girls Club contract.