Bloomington – McLean County Council approved the county’s updated mental health action plan on Thursday After postponing the vote for a month.
It’s the mental health plan’s first update since its creation in 2015, after the city of Bloomington and the town of Normal agreed to raise sales tax from 1.5% to 2.5% to partially fund county initiatives under the plan.
Board members postponed a vote on the plan at the county council meeting in April because it was not made available to the public.
The 156-page plan is “a roadmap for moving toward system change in McLean County with a focus on needs improvements,” said the plan’s authors, from the McLean County Behavioral Health Coordinating Council.
“It strives to reflect current progress, achievements, and recommendations; however, it is also known that it needs to survive and take advantage of them to continue to make progress for all.” As with the original, some procedures were not followed scrupulously, nor should they be with This document.”
The plan outlines recommendations in various areas, such as housing, youth and crises, access to medical services, administration, court services, and prison.
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Board member Shayna Wachinsky noted that the plan said that in 2017, the county evaluated the joint responder model for crisis response situations, but found that the model was not sustainable. Instead, the county used crisis intervention team training for police officers to de-escalate situations.
“There was not enough participation, enough support or enough funds to support the joint response system at this time,” said McLean County Board of Directors John McIntyre, who also sits on the BHCC. “We’re really advocating for it and would love to have it, but it requires, really, intense involvement from all the agencies involved in the BHCC and we haven’t been able to come up with a solution.”
Board member Elizabeth Johnston, who proposed last month to bring the mental health plan update to the May meeting, said the plan “should always be seen as a work in progress.”
“The world is evolving and our response will be more effective if we simultaneously take action on what we have already identified as problems and listen to our residents, experts and staff on the ground regarding what they are going through,” Johnston said.
Postponing the solar farm project
In other work, McLean County Council has postponed plans for 5 megawatts, 28 acres Solar facility southwest of Bloomington in Dale Township.
The $7 million project proposed by Towanda Solar LLC, a subsidiary of California-based Cypress Creek Renewables, will invest approximately $4 million locally and will be McLean County’s second solar farm.
Board member Jim Rogal requested that the approval be submitted to a county council meeting on June 16 to ensure the company hires local workers for construction.
“When they came last time and built their solar farm in the Downs, they said they would hire local workers. This time many people have reached out to them to hire local workers,” Rogal said. They told us there wasn’t enough time to get this done before tonight, so I’d like to give them a month to try to sort this out before we take a vote on this. “
The project will last 40 years and is expected to generate 21 construction jobs, which Cypress Creek Renewables described as “local” in their implementation.
The solar power facility is also expected to generate property tax revenue for the county.
If the project is approved at next month’s McLean County Council meeting, it will then wait for permits to be issued to begin construction. Construction is expected to begin sometime in 2023.
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