Mark Beardmore
Mark Beardmore
May 28, 2013

Supervisors Chairman Mark Beardmore and other county officials met with the Iowa Department of Human Services last week on Carroll County's pursuit of an exemption from the state's developing regional system for mental-health services.

"They extended the same courtesy to Polk County just prior to granting their exemption," Beardmore said. "This was a fact-clarifying-additional-information-gathering session that lasted just over an hour."

As of the end of March, Carroll County had $2.9 million in reserves for mental-health services. The county expects to spend $1.3 million on mental-health services for the fiscal year starting July 1.

Carroll County has maintained the robust reserves for such services, and supervisors don't want to see that money, built over years, used to lift any economically troubled counties in a region Carroll could be forced to join. The Board of Supervisors recently voted to file a request for an exemption from mental-health regionalization with the Department of Human Services.

Beardmore said the meeting last week in Carroll leads him to be cautiously optimistic about an outcome he's advocated, and made a top priority, for the county.

"This is by no means a green light, but I still feel rather encouraged that this was a good sign," Beardmore said. "I don't think the DHS would make the trip all the way here to merely exchange pleasantries."

Beardmore recently spoke personally with Gov. Terry Branstad about the matter as well.

The state is expected to respond to the waiver request by June 7.

"We are responding to their request to provide some additional information that would support our case, so this may add a brief delay to their decision, but shouldn't impact the date significantly," Beardmore said.