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Commission signs off on jail mental health agreement

Cullman Times - 1/24/2019

Jan. 24--Addressing mental health issues among Cullman County's inmate population took another step forward Wednesday when the Cullman County Commission authorized sheriff Matt Gentry to iron out some dangling details in its formal agreement with a local treatment and counseling provider.

The commission signed off on allowing minor administrative adjustments to the agreement between the sheriff's office and WellStone Behavioral Health, a regional center for psychiatric and mental health counseling services. Service for the at-risk inmate population at the Cullman County Detention Center comes at no cost to taxpayers, thanks to a federal grant last year that funds WellStone's participation in the project.

Local law enforcement has emphasized the need for more robust mental health services as a means of reducing preventable recidivism, suicide, and violent acts. A $50,000 federal grant awarded last summer allows the hiring of a licensed mental health professional to evaluate and work with potential repeat offenders whose cases are aggravated by mental health issues.

In other business at its regular meeting, the commission:

* Recessed in order to add an item to the meeting agenda.

* Set a March 26 public hearing on a petition to vacate County Road 1614 in Berlin.

* Approved an inmate re-insurance policy with Unimerica Insurance Co. through Hunt Insurance Group, at an annual premium of $77,837.76.

* Agreed not to renew the county's contract with the RAVE weather alert system, citing cost and a lack of participation from the community.

* Authorized the chairman to sign an agreement with Post Panda Promotions for talent booking at three events: Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day / Sweet Tater Festival (a 2-day event), all at Smith Lake Park.

* Approved the replacement of an existing door access control system at the water department, via an agreement with ADS Security at a cost of $5,984.

* Approved payment of $6,000 to Wallace State Community College for last year's sheriff deputy work at the regional basketball tournament.

* Released the bond for the Hidden Shores subdivision on County Road 71, and accepted its roads into the county maintenance system.

* Adopted a resolution to resurface and stripe County Road 1141 from County Road 1147 to County Road 1246. The project, which will be bid in November of next year and begun in 2021, is the commission's Federal Aid Road project for this fiscal year.

* Approved the plat for Phase 2 of the Stillhouse Point subdivision located on County Road 71.

* Extended the county's current bid agreement with Good Hope Contracting for bituminous plant mix for the road department.

* Extended the county's current bid agreement with Helena Chemical for herbicides.

* Approved the purchase of a $28,515 used SUV from Bill Smith Buick GMC in Cullman, to be used as a second vehicle for the Probate Office.

* The commission's next regular meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Feb 12 in the commission meeting room of the Cullman County Courthouse. An 8:30 a.m. public work session will precede the meeting in the commission conference room.


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