BOISE, Idaho (Good Medical) – Lawmakers challenged Thursday a budget request from a government agency that runs a troubled residential treatment center for severely disabled and mentally ill people, and in particular two vehicles that the agency wants to replace.
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Services for Persons with Developmental Disabilities have submitted their request to the Joint Committee on Credits for Finance.
Demand for $ 32.3 million for fiscal year 2020 is about 1% less than the year before. Governor Brad Little has recommended a bit more in his budget for the agency, but only replaces one of the vehicles.
The agency runs the southwestern Idaho treatment center in Nampa. State auditors said last week that the residential treatment center for severely disabled people, suffering from mental illness or other problems is plagued with systemic problems causing trauma for staff and residents .
Lawmakers told Miren Unsworth, the division's administrator, that disturbing news in recent years about the center had had a negative impact on the community. Both budget vehicles attracted the attention of lawmakers. The agency said they needed to be replaced because they had a smell of urine that could not be eliminated.
A 2001 van and a 2008 sedan are part of a $ 131,800 application from the agency, which also includes maintenance projects for various buildings in the center, including the roof. But Little's budget reduces this demand to $ 27,400 to replace only the sedan but not the van.
"Why would not we replace this van?" Asked Senator Van Burtenshaw, R-Terreton. "I do not think any of us would want to go to work in a van in this state."
Officials from the Financial Management Division of Idaho said the decision in the Governor 's recommended budget was part of the process to determine what needed to be replaced and how much money was available.
"Accidents happen with this population," legislators told the division's administrator, Miren Unsworth. "I think it's just a reality with the people we serve."
Unsworth said the center, which has 18 patients, has enough staff but is struggling to recruit and retain staff to care for patients.
"There is no quick fix for this complex and vulnerable population," Unsworth said.
Of the budget requested by the agency, $ 10.3 million is for the center. That's about $ 70,000 more than recommended by Little.
The agency also requested $ 22 million for its community development services for people with disabilities, which help children and adults with intellectual disabilities in the state.
Legislators will decide the budget request in the coming weeks.