Primary sources of revenue are local levies and state grants

By William K. Alcorn


Mahoning County Mental Health Board adopted a fiscal year 2014 budget of $7.3 million, down about $3 million from last year almost entirely because of a change in the way Medicaid money is processed, board officials said.

Previously, the mental health board processed Medicaid claims for services received from mental health board-funded agencies.

As of this year, however, Medicaid claims are processed by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, said Howard Merritt, director of finance for the mental health agency.

Medicaid, which provides health and medical services for certain individuals and families with low incomes, is primarily funded by the federal government, but because it flowed through the local mental-health agency it had to be reflected in the agency’s budget as revenue and expenditures. That is no longer the case.

The primary sources of revenue are the mental health board’s two property-tax levies, which produce a combined $4 million annually, and state grants,

Projected revenue from state grants include $1.5 million to provide local non-Medicaid services for those not eligible for Medicaid; $271,785 to provide medications for county mental-health clients; and $220,000 for so-called regional “hot spot” collaboration projects among agencies.

The lion’s share of expenditures, $4,823,903, are allocated to the mental health board’s core agencies, compared to $4,879,568 in fiscal year 2013, which ended June 30, Merritt said. Fiscal year 2014 began July 1.

Core agencies are Compass Family and Community Services, Catholic Charities Regional Agency, D&E Counseling Center, Help Hotline Crisis Center, Meridian Community Care, and Turning Point Counseling Services.

A significant amount of the levy revenue is used to provide poor residents with counseling, medications and residential services, Merritt said.

In other action at Thursday’s special meeting, chaired by Atty. Nomiki Tsarnas, the board approved an amount not to exceed $74,000 for funding the .85-mill renewal levy on the November general election ballot.

Also, the board is expected to make a decision in September on whether to reduce the number of memberships to as few as 14. The board consists of 18 Mahoning County residents, 12 of whom are appointed by the county commissioners and six by the Ohio Department of Mental Health.

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