State grant allows county to eliminate fees for Crisis Stabilization Unit

FOX24

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFTA) — A sizable state grant will offset operating costs for the Washington County Stabilization Unit (CSU) and eliminate the need for municipality fees.

When the CSU first opened over the summer, one major factor keeping cities from utilization was the announced $40 daily fee for intakes. The unit was created for officers to take people who might be suffering from a mental crisis when they commit a misdemeanor crime, functioning as an alternative to jail.

Cities were leery to pay for the $40 daily fee, which was billed to each municipality if police diverted someone to the unit.

The county’s Finance and Budget committee approved spending $860,840 in state grant money to help pay for a number of elements, primarily the Ozark Guidance Counseling (OGC) services. It’ll also reimburse the county for the six months the unit was open before it began operation, said county attorney Brian Lester.

The county will continue to pay for building upkeep and utilities, possibly with the aid of future benefactors or donors, Lester said.

“We are taking that money and trying to do the best we can to provide services,” Lester said. “As long as Washington County can foot the bill and take care of those costs, we’ll be happy to do that.”

The other units in the state will still charge a fee per intake, Lester said.

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