Franklin County Votes To Raise Taxes For Mental Health and Drug Treatment Program

By Dori Luzzo Gilmour

Franklin County Commissioners voted to raise taxes a tenth of a percent to fund mental health and drug treatment. Benton County approved the same tax on residents in early November.

After several hours of public comment, Franklin County Commissioners unanimously voted to raise sales taxes on residents of the county to build a mental health center.

Commissioner Brad Peck wanted the commission to consider that they could use the tax money for treatment; “But I would also like to encourage us to not forget there are a lot of professionals in the private sector and more would come if we had the funds to retain their services. And that is a quick way to ramp up and ramp down the amount of services needed… without having to build more brick and mortar.”

The tax will be used in conjunction with Benton County and the plan for the money has not been finalized. Commissioner Peck spoke against spending money on a facility that would be run in Benton County. Peck says, “I’ve grown concerned over the years that maybe we should be looking more about dedicating as much money as possible for services and as little as possible for structures. And while I didn’t have a direct hand in it…but I know that Benton County and others have been working on the old KGH hospital and converting that.”

There will be many more planning meetings and discussions on how the tax dollars will be allocated for both Benton and Franklin County in 2022.