Four years after sticking Bernalillo County consumers with an additional tax on goods and services for mental health programs, the county is considering asking the public what it should do with $89.5 million of your hard-earned money.
We hate to say we told you so, but. …
There was no question there has been – still is – a dearth of help for those in crisis in the Metro area. And since the 2014 fatal shooting of homeless, schizophrenic camper James Boyd in the Sandia Foothills by police, the need for a crisis triage center has rightfully been the reformers’ battle cry.
On Feb. 17, 2015, the Journal editorial “Bernalillo County puts tax before accountability” advised to get a plan in place before asking voters for money. But rather than put together a real plan – say a location, capacity, list of services, list of providers, blueprint, budget, etc. – on Feb. 25, 2015, the County Commission approved a tax increase heavy on compassion and light on details. Taxpayers were promised that for their 19 cents on every $100 purchase (which now brings in more than $22 million a year), they would get a place beyond jail or the ER where law enforcement could take those with mental health and/or drug addiction problems. A place where those folks could be guided to programs and services.