Clarification regarding status of Winnebago County Community Mental Health Board funding


December 13, 2023

Contact: Danielle Grindle

Phone: (815) 319-4233

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Ill. – In response to recent misinformation regarding the status of funding for the Winnebago County Community Mental Health Board (WCCMHB), the Winnebago County Board Office would like to offer clarification on the implications of the recent County Board action as it relates to the Mental Health Board budget.

The County Board approved the 2024 Fiscal Year budget which allocated $12 million to the WCCMHB from the voter approved ½ cent Mental Health Sales Tax. Currently, the County Board may appropriate more or less than the amount requested in the budget of the Mental Health Board. As mental health tax proceeds may only be spent by the Mental Health Board, any excess funding not appropriated by the County Board to the Mental Health Board would sit idle until appropriated starting in January 2024.

"Before the Board authorized the spending of new money, we wanted justification of their current spending on administrative functions," said Paul Arena, Winnebago County Board Member (R-7). "We are absolutely committed to providing mental health services to those in need in Winnebago County, but we need to ensure that it is done responsibly. We cannot allow this tax to be used to support a bloated bureaucracy."

The Winnebago County Board voted on this appropriation with the understanding that new funding would be allocated when the Mental Health Board assumes appropriation authority at the beginning of the new year. Effective January 1, 2024, Public Act 103-274 amends various sections of the Community Mental Health Act, allocates budget authority to the Mental Health Board, and requires the County Board to appropriate the amount determined by the WCCMHB.