Ada County needs a drug and alcohol detox treatment facility–no question about it.
Who will pay, provide treatment, and administer the badly needed facility is a big question. Ada commishes were pushing the city for a commitment to repay half of $35,000 from United Way. United Way recognizes the need for a detox center, but hen asked why United Way was even involved in funding a government planning project, a spokesperson for the charity said, “Some of our board asked the same question and we have not in fact cut a check for anyone.”
Timing is everything. As we understand it from UW, they made an offer to help fund a detox center, not make a “loan” to local governments. Now the commishes are claiming the county quashed the deal because Boise wouldn’t pay UW back for a loan. We say leave UW out of it!
A county facility, run by the county and funded by the county seems logical to the GUARDIAN. Don’t try to pimp the cities out of cash. Take a lesson from our friends at Nike and JUST DO IT!
Sheriff Gary Raney wants to do the right thing and we imagine the city councilors, mayors, and county commissioners also want to do the right thing. Trouble is they don’t understand their place in the world or their role in life.
The GUARDIAN offers a broader view.
While everyone in local government talks about “regional planning” and “multi-agency cooperation,” they forget that we are all family–Ada County residents.
Instead of providing a leadership role in a quest for detox treatment, Ada County officials (sheriff Gary and the commishes) see themselves as just another cog in the gear–along with Boise, Meridian, Garden City, Eagle, Star, and Kuna. The cities see them that way too.
Truth is, we all live in Ada County and the county government is really the “Parent.” If they feel compelled to build and staff a county detox center they should do it–without involvement of the “children” in the cities.
Both city governments and the Ada Commishes view themselves pretty much as equals.
They duplicate a lot of services like police, planning, zoning etc. Every city function in reality is in ADDITION to those services the county offers. Cities have incorporated to provide EXTRA services and more restrictive zoning, rules, and ordinances.
Most notably the county provides courts, assessor, treasurer, jail, county records (birth, death, property, etc.). They don’t charge cities a pro-rated fee based on population for those services and they shouldn’t. Nor should they attempt to charge for a countywide detox center. If the state won’t live up to the law and Ada County feels the need, it should be a county project period. No need to involve the cities at all. CITY RESIDENTS PAY THE MAJORITY OF ALL COUNTY TAXES.
If the Ada Commishes believe they were let down by Boise City’s lack of financial commitment, the commishes don’t understand their role in life. To scale back a much needed program because Boise councilors wouldn’t play is nothing more than an excuse. Boise councilors did the right thing when they asked for time to review the proposal which included an unfair tax burden for Boise residents.
State law absolutely mandates that detox authority and treatment is to be provided by the state of Idaho. The state has failed to do so and Sheriff Gary has worked hard to get something going, but he has worked on the wrong people. Keep it simple–legislators and commishes only!
The good sheriff tried to enlist the aid of hospitals at an Arid Club meeting last summer, he has talked with mayors and other business and government leaders throughout the county including United Way. He made a good case for a detox center, but he made it to the wrong people! He should have been lobbying the legislature to comply with the law they passed. Shy of that, only the commishes needed to act.
If they need cash to build the place, ask the voters. We don’t mind raising taxes for needed projects financed within the law.
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Feb 25, 2006, 6:50 pm
For anyone who would balk at increased taxes to fund drug treatment and detox, I would encourage them to do some research. There was a study, I believe out of Washington State, on the cost of Methamphetamine to communities where its use is prevalent. The article that accompanied the study was entitled “The Meth Tax”. It looked at all ancillary and tertiary costs to society (hard costs)when drug abuse occurs. I did have the article and url for a long time…but alas. Anyway, type it in and read. Wouldn’t we rather pay the money in a way we can track it and know that it goes to REALLY help the problem. I know I would.
Feb 26, 2006, 2:49 pm
Our tax-evading County Commissioner shed some light on this project in his Sunday op-ed. From what I gather the County has a contract with CH2M Hill to build onto the jail to expand some medical facilities because if they got sued they think they would lose. The Sheriff then decided to try to bootstrap this project into also providing a detox center, apparently at major expense to the cities.
The Boise Mayor and Council are taking a correct go-slow approach. The urgency appears nothing more than the county’s contractor, CH2M Hill, wanting to start working on the medical unit plan and get compensated. The Commissioner pretty much admits so. Sounds like a case of the contractor tail wagging the County dog is what created an artificial deadline.
Given that getting drunk and/or drugged and needing to sleep it off is something that happens to people rural, suburban or urban, I think the County ought to take responsibility for the whole thing, including raising the taxes necessary to pay for it. They should not try to sluff it off on the cities.
Ed note–OSPREY understands perfectly. Call the commishes and the councilors and ask them to read the GUARDIAN and the reader’s comments.
Feb 27, 2006, 3:50 pm
How about UNTOX so we don’t need DETOX?