Boone County voters Tuesday passed Proposition 1, a quarter cent sales tax increase in response to problems outlined in an assessment of local mental health services for youth in Boone County. Supporters say the goal is to diminish the stigma around mental health issues by providing early intervention and prevention services.
With voter approval the next step is for the Boone County Commission to appoint a 9-member board, which has to be created before money can be distributed. The tax is expected to raise $5.4 million annually. The funds will go towards counseling service, psychiatric services and drug and alcohol prevention for people less than 19 years old. Christine Corcoran, coordinator of the Putting Kids First campaign, said this will affect everyone in Boone County in some way.
“Every dollar invested in the services will save tax payers $8 down the road in terms of incarceration, lower incarceration costs, healthcare cost and lost wages costs," Corcoran said. "It truly does impact our entire community.”
The tax will also fund services for pregnant teenagers and suicide and bullying prevention. Corcoran said the statute allows for about 10 different service areas. The tax will go into effect in April.