12/08/13 — Excess profits to fund alcohol program

View Archive

Excess profits to fund alcohol program

By Steve Herring
Published in News on December 8, 2013 1:50 AM

Wayne County commissioners plan to use $42,000 from an unexpected $84,285 donation from the Wayne County ABC Board to help clear a backlog of cases in the Family Drug Treatment Court program.

The program has been delayed because of a lack of funding and a backlog of referrals has grown, County Manager Lee Smith told commissioners at their Tuesday meeting.

"So they get placed on other programs costing the local, state and federal governments at a higher rate," he said. "Savings could be $300,000 by getting rid of the backlog from January 1 to June 30."

Smith said it made sense to use the ABC money in that program since it is for families with drug issues, including alcohol.

ABC Board Chairman Joe Sawyer presented the money Tuesday as part of ABC Board business manager Mike Myrick's report on sales for the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Sales increased by $237,277, or 3.2 percent, over the previous year, growing from $7,366,191 to $7,603,468, Myrick said.

The county ABC Board will distribute $2.7 million in revenue including $449,000 to the county.

The $84,285 is not part of that revenue, but rather the result of a change in how much local ABC boards can keep in their capital funds. The Wayne County ABC Board has been giving money above what it can keep in that fund to the county.

Other local revenue-based distributions include Goldsboro, $382,000; Mount Olive, $72,000; Fremont, $700; Wayne County Alcohol Rehabilitation, $27,231; and Wayne County law enforcement $27,422.

The bulk, $1.66 million, will go to the state general fund. Another $71,611 will be sent to the state Department of Revenue and $7,161 to the Department of Health and Human Services.

County officials hope the money given to the Family Drug Treatment Court will keep that program stable as funding issues are worked out.

"People that are referred are ones who are before the juvenile court that is dealing with abused, neglected and dependent juveniles that the Guardian Ad Litem program works with as well," County Attorney Borden Parker said. "We are finding that a lot of juveniles that are coming before that court have drug problems in their homes with parents or caretakers.

"If it is appropriate these individuals taken into the drug court, the drug court will see them initially every other week and then maybe every month. It generally goes for nine months. They are drug-tested every time that they go to court and there are some sanctions if they have a positive test."

There is a backlog of about 15 to 16 families, Smith said.

People already in the program are continuing to be served, but new clients cannot be added because of the funding shortage, he said.

In the past, funding has come from county appropriations given through Eastpointe, a local management entity responsible for managing, coordinating, facilitating and monitoring mental health and drug abuse services.

Managed care organizations are being created to take the place of the old local management entities. Not all of the counties in the new organization have family drug court programs.

Because of new Medicaid rules for the managed care organizations, there are issues with funding member counties differently, he said.

"The merger of 12 counties that will create the new MCO creates one entity," Smith said. "County lines don't matter. However, it was agreed that counties that wanted a program had to pay for it, or if a program was allowed and paid through some of the programs of the Eastpointe MCO, then that program had to be made available to all of the counties."

Medicaid rules are "ever-changing" and until that issue can be resolved, $42,000 is needed to cover personnel costs, drug test kits and personnel within the department to help during the court, Smith said.

The use of the remainder of the $84,285 has not yet been assigned.

Smith said he was not asking for action and suggested that people involved with the program be asked to meet with commissioners.

"I think that if the funds are available, and the need is great, I see no need for us to forgo this . Therefore, I make a motion that we approve the recommendation of the county manager and allocate those funds," Commissioner Joe Daughtery said.

The motion was approved 7-0 and included drafting the necessary budget amendments.

Smith said the money would be for six months and that he had told program officials there is no assurance that there would be money past July 1 -- the start of the county's new fiscal year.

A meeting with Eastpointe officials is scheduled for February so the board can look at how the program will be funded moving forward, impacts and where dollars will come from, Smith said.

Commissioner Steve Keen questioned how much Eastpointe is paying the county for renting office space in the county-owned Borden building

Eastpointe pays $10,000 monthly and so far the county has collected $120,000 for the year, Smith said.

Keen said he did not know how much is used for upkeep on the building. He suggested looking at the county budget to see if some of that money could be used for the program.