Here’s another of the several referenda on which the voters of my area will be voting on Tuesday:
Shall there be established, pursuant to the Community Mental Health Services Act (405 ILCS 22), to serve the territory commonly described on this ballot or notice of this question, a North River Expanded Mental Health Services Program, to provide direct free mental health services for any resident of the territory who needs assistance in overcoming or coping with mental or emotional disorders, where such program will be funded through an increase of not more than .004 of the real estate property tax bill of all parcels within the boundaries of the territory (for example, $4 of every $1,000 you currently pay)?”
This is another example of a measure in which the precise wording of the actual final measure makes all of the difference between getting my support or not. For example, would the NREMHSP refuse services for non-residents? If it did not, would the city reimburse the taxpayers of the territory for the cost of the services provided? My concern is that my area would find itself financing mental health services for the entire city of Chicago. I’m also concerned about the possibility that my area would become a magnet for mentally ill persons from all across the city. I presume that’s not the intention but if some areas approve of such a measure while others don’t that could be the upshot.
My concern is heightened by the phrase “direct free mental health, etc.”. I presume “free of charge to those receiving the services” is meant rather than actually free services, presumably donated by mental health professionals. As it stands, it’s sloppy diction. Advocacy posing as legislation.
Bottom line: I think this measure needs to be something city-wide unless the services provided are limited by residency, something I’m skeptical of actually taking place.