Variety of issues raised before delegation

January 06, 2003|by TARA REILLY

Washington County Health Department therapist Holly Kees told local lawmakers Saturday that dozens of people with mental health needs are on a waiting list for service and that the situation will get worse if such programs are subject to state budget cuts.

About 25 of the approximately 60 people who showed up for a meeting with the Washington County Delegation to the Maryland General Assembly represented the mental health field. They told the lawmakers that mental health budgets are already underfunded and that individuals are missing out on services.

"Would you feel comfortable turning them away?" Kees asked members of the delegation. "That's kind of what I have to do every day."


Del. Chris Shank, R-Washington, said the state may have too many agencies that deal with mental health issues, which as a result are tying up money that should go directly to the public.

Sen. Donald Munson, R-Washington, asked the mental health representatives to keep the delegation aware of their situation.

The state is facing a $1.3 billion shortfall for fiscal year 2004, and it's likely municipalities and other organizations that receive state funding will face budget cuts to make up for that deficit, state officials have said.

  • Also at the meeting:

  • Tom Clemens of the Washington County Higher Education Association told the delegation that Hagerstown Community College professors will again ask for a bill that would give the professors collective bargaining rights similar to those of Washington County public school teachers.

  • Keller Haden, a former Washington County animal control officer, told the delegation that state laws regarding animal control are lacking in some areas, including those dealing with animal abandonment and penalties for people who interfere with the job of the officers.

  • Brenda Burket, a Hagerstown resident, said she had been having problems with rude employees at the Motor Vehicle Administration and asked the delegation if there was anything it could do about it. Munson asked for the names of the employees.
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