BY BARB HIGMAN, LAURA GARCIA AND GLENN NELSON
On November 7, 2017, voters in Washtenaw County passed a millage to provide funds for mental health and public safety. This was a victory for the dedicated people who worked hard to educate citizens about the need for improved services for individuals living with mental health conditions. The ballot language stipulated that the revenue be divided as follows: 38% for mental health, 38% for public safety and 24% for jurisdictions with their own police force.
After the election, many people joined the discussion of exactly how the funds would be used. While, prior to the election, a majority of the members of the Ann Arbor City Council had announced their intention to appropriate 40% of the funds allocated to the City of Ann Arbor for climate change action, a poll of a random sample of registered voters in the city revealed 75% were unaware or only vaguely aware of this. Seventy-seven percent believed the entirety of the millage funds would be used for mental health and public safety.
Ann Arbor Citizens for Mental Health & Public Safety
The ensuing controversy led to the formation of the Ann Arbor Citizens for Mental Health & Public Safety (CMHPS), which has developed a website with information about the issue. The Ann Arbor City Council has disseminated a survey to determine what people want.
It is vital that the survey be completed by as many potential respondents as possible.
Take Action Now
CMHPS strongly encourages you to do the following:
- Visit the CMHPS website at https://www.a2MentalHealthMillage.com, where you will find the information needed to understand the issue and take action.
- Complete and submit the survey if you were randomly selected to receive it.
- Contact the mayor and city representatives from your ward prior to April 15, 2019, to express your concerns and recommendations; the representatives will be most receptive then as the City Administrator will present the budget to the Council on April 15. You must do so before May 20, 2019, as the city budget will be adopted on that date. Personal stories and reasons for your opinion can be very powerful.