May 21, 2018
Last, Unsuccessful Effort to Include Considerations of Mental Health Services in the FY 2019 Budget
The City Council took final action on the FY 2019 Budget on May 21, 2018. Council members had the option of submitting proposed amendments prior to the meeting. The proposed amendments were available for viewing on the Council web site.
Council members Anne Bannister and Jack Eaton proposed and co-sponsored Budget Amendment #5 (see text below), which proposed to add $75,000 to the budget for planning for potential mental health services. The proposal was analogous to the $75,000 in the Administrator's Recommended Budget for planning climate change actions.
Glenn Nelson, a co-leader of Citizens for Mental Health & Public Safety, spoke in favor of Amendment #5 in the public comment period prior to budget deliberations, emphasizing two points:
"First, the need for mental health services is huge and it is growing. ... We should be helping people in our community with mental health challenges — and their family members."
"Second, the cohesiveness of our community will be greater if we take advantage of the next nine months to have a community conversation about climate change actions, mental health services, and other budgeted actions. ... The right way to reach a broadly accepted resolution is to have a community conversation about it. Voting yes on the amendment would facilitate this — guiding the discussion within civil, mutually respected boundaries."
Council members Anne Bannister and Jack Eaton offered strong statements in favor of the amendment.
The amendment failed 4-7 (Council members Bannister, Eaton, Kailasapathy and Lumm, yeas; Council members Ackerman, Grand, Kraypohl, Smith, Taylor, Warpehoski and Westphal nays). The majority thus indicated their adamant opposition to funding mental health services from the City's portion of the Mental Health and Public Safety Millage. They are unwilling to even discuss such funding.
The failure of Budget Amendment #5 marked the shift from a discussion within the City Council's budget process to the Mayoral and City Council contests in the August 7, 2018 primary election.
Budget Amendment #5
Amendment 5-Amendment to Increase Funding to Study Mental Health Needs
WHEREAS, Washtenaw County residents, including residents of the City of Ann Arbor, approved a ballot measure to authorize a Mental Health and Public Safety Preservation Millage;
WHEREAS, The City of Ann Arbor has significant unmet needs in addressing community mental health issues, including but not limited to the opioid crisis, student mental health services and suicide prevention;
WHEREAS, A poll conducted by Public Policy Polling for Citizens for Mental Health & Public Safety, indicated that Ann Arbor voters support the use of public funds to provide additional mental health services;
WHEREAS, The City of Ann Arbor has not budgeted any funds for Mental Health assessment and planning;
RESOLVED, the General Fund Police non-recurring expenditure budget be increased by $75,000 for the purpose of funding a study of mental health needs funded with the reduction of the General Fund Non-departmental budget for governance documents by $75,000.
Sponsors: Council members Eaton, Bannister