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Mendocino County sales tax for mental health services leads in early voting

The Press Democrat - 11/8/2017

Nov. 08--A Mendocino County ballot measure that would increase sales taxes to fund mental health facilities and services led in preliminary results late Tuesday.

Measure B, the Mental Health Treatment Act, led with 82 percent of the vote, based on a count of mail-in ballots and 15 of 250 precincts reporting. The special tax needs approval by two-thirds of voters.

The ballot measure would impose a half-cent sales tax across Mendocino County for five years, then decline to an eighth-cent tax. If approved, it is expected to generate $38 million for five years, through June 2023, and just under $2 million a year thereafter.

For the first five years, 75 percent of the tax revenue would be used for the construction of facilities to treat people with mental illnesses and drug addiction. Not less than 25 percent would go to treatment and services.

After that, all the tax revenue would be spent on services and treatment.

Specifically, the measure calls for the creation of a special fund to construct a crisis stabilization facility for those suffering acute mental illness, as well as other behavioral health facilities. The fund would also be used to construct a facility to train behavioral health staff, law enforcement officials and other first responders.

The measure was championed by Sheriff Tom Allman, who pushed a similar measure a year ago that was narrowly defeated at the polls.

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