The Rice County Board of Commissioners Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution supporting state bonding dollars to meet the mental health needs of Minnesotans.  County Social Service Director Mark Shaw told Commissioners he was presenting the resolution on behalf of the Minnesota Association of Counties.

Shaw said the organization has made the issue one of their top legislative priorities for the upcoming legislative session which gets underway next month.  Shaw says the association believes using the bonding dollars would reduce the number of people with significant mental health needs seen in the county jails or Anoka Metro Regional Treatment Center.

Shaw told Commissioners Rice County spent over $600,000 in 2017 providing services for "seven or eight people" at the Anoka facility.

After a certain period of time Shaw pointed out the county picks up the tab at a cost of approximately $1,400 a day.

"It doesn't take long for the cost to build,"  Shaw said, "that's why the Minnesota Association of Counties prioritizing the issue."

Rice County Social Services Director Mark Shaw at County Board Meeting Jan. 23, 2018. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld