During last night's (Tuesday 12-7) Franklin County Commissioners meeting, it was agreed to put in place a local sales tax, at the rate of $.1 cent per every $10 dollars spent. So, a $100 dollar purchase would have an extra $.10 cents of tax.

THE MONEY WILL GO TOWARDS A BI-COUNTY MENTAL HEALTH CENTER

Following a similar move by Benton County Commissioners, Franklin County officials agreed the area needs a facility to help provide drug and mental health treatment.

Some officials who spoke brought up the recent State Supreme Court's ruling that took drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor. This, for starters, now prevents law enforcement from taking suspects to jail and potential treatment programs. It basically allows those with drug issues to remain in jeopardy.

  WHERE WOULD THE FACILITY BE ESTABLISHED?

Benton County wants to see the drug-mental health center in the former Kennewick General Hospital location at Auburn, as most of now TRIOS operations are at Southridge.

Previous attempts to establish a local bi-county center have failed, it's hoped these new taxes will support the project.

The Franklin County tax will bring in an estimated $1.4 million each year in revenue to support it.

Amazingly, officials who presented the case for the facility said there are only enough beds for ten people to get in-patient mental health care, no such facility for teens or juveniles, and no detox facility in either county.

Benton County is starting the process of converting the old KGH facility into a 50-bed treatment center for various drug and mental health issues.

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There was some discussion about both counties utilizing the same center. Regardless of what type of facilities come out of these plans, officials agree they are needed, the state is not going to help, and it will greatly help public safety and law enforcement.

 

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