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Though the Plumas County Board of Supervisors balked last month when the grand jury requested a $3,000 transfer for out-of-county travel, the board ultimately approved the expenditure during its Nov. 6 meeting.
About $1,600 will be used to send nine members to a report-writing workshop in Sacramento.
Dennis Doyle, the grand jury’s foreman, told the supervisors that last year only two grand jury members attended the workshop, and it put too much work on those individuals to write the report.
Doyle said the money would be used to pay for workshop costs and hotels, but that the jury members would pay for their own meals and travel costs.
Supervisor Lori Simpson asked Doyle if those conducting the workshops “talked about tone,” alluding to some of the comments included in the 2011-12 grand jury report, which chided the supervisors for being “oblivious” among other findings.
“Yes, absolutely,” Doyle said, adding that the jury likes “to look at it as a report card from the teacher.”
That analogy appeared to irk Supervisor Jon Kennedy who said that a report card “is usually based on facts.”
The board also voted unanimously to renew its contract with local attorney Michael Jackson who represents the county on water-related issues. The contract for $200 per hour will be in effect through June 30, 2013.
State hospital stays
Though it doesn’t come out of the county’s general fund, the Board of Supervisors approved a transfer of $111,060 from the mental health budget reserve to pay for a resident to receive treatment at a state hospital.
In her request, Pat Leslie, the interim director of mental health, said the transfer was to cover “unforeseen, mandated expenses for inpatient services.” The money will cover July 2012 through December 2012.
“If the patient stays in the hospital longer, I will come back to you,” Leslie told the supervisors Nov. 6.
The money comes from a reserve that is put aside specifically for this purpose.
The county’s mental health department has $6 million in reserve, including $1 million that is specifically for Assembly Bill 109 clients (inmates who are released to the counties).
Supervisor Kennedy said he recently learned that 46 percent of inmates have mental health issues.
“There is increased potential,” Leslie said of the county’s need to send residents to state hospitals for treatment.
But prior to the current patient, it had been seven years since a resident had been sent from Plumas County to a state hospital.
Even though there have only been two patients in seven years, Leslie said there is a potential for the cost to “balloon very quickly” not only depending on the number of patients, but the level of care that they could require.
Leslie said that she receives weekly updates on patient progress.
Mental health plan
The supervisors also approved the mental health annual plan for 2012-13.
Mental health interim director Leslie said that the plan was based on last year’s model with two additions — aid for the county’s senior nutrition program and money for a therapist to assist with AB 109 clients.
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