Since it was first passed in 1989, the five-year, 0.7-mill operational levy for the Four County ADAMhs Board has provided Fulton County with community-based alcohol, drug addiction, and mental health services.
A renewal of the levy, which provides just over $2 million annually, is on the ballot Nov. 6. CEO Les McCaslin is asking voters to continue their support of the agency, which he said is increasingly in demand.
Between 2016-17, requests by community members for the board’s services jumped from 9,000 to over 12,000. “That’s the most we’ve ever served, and it goes up every year,” McCaslin said.
ADAMhs Board services include detoxification; a long-term residential recovery program for men at the Renewal Center in Napoleon and for women at Serenity Haven in Fayette; providing medication for mental health; placement for children and adults who require mental health services that can’t be addressed at home; hospitalizations; and traditional outpatient counseling.
“It’s a full range of health care services for people with mental health and/or addiction issues,” McCaslin said. That includes the board’s care toward individuals experiencing first-time depression.
Sadly, McCaslin said, reductions in state and federal assistance over the years have left the board relying heavily on the levy revenue, which now accounts for 60 percent of its funding.
“It’s just been chipping away. The most stable funding we have right now is our local levies,” he said.
Still, the ADAMhs Board has never asked the area community for an increase in funding since the levy first passed, he added.
Should the levy fail on Tuesday, staff would be reduced and the wait time to receive counseling and medication would lengthen considerably. Services clients now can receive within a week of their request would instead take months.
“We rely on (the levy). It would be devastating for the mental health system,” McCaslin said. “There are no services to cut. They’re all essential.”
While opioid abuse has leveled somewhat locally, the agency is still battling that crisis, as well as major abuses of methamphetamine and alcohol, he said.
“We’ve always had good support from the community,” McCaslin said. “We’ve been doing a lot of awareness activities, and I think we use their dollars wisely. I am absolutely convinced the local residents are doing their job. It’s the state and federal levels that need to step up.”
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010