A resolution asking the Public Building Commission to proceed with McLean County jail renovation and expansion served as a skirmishing point for the mental health service debate. Board member Chuck Erickson voted for measure, but expressed reservations, saying mental illness is not a legitimate reason to expand the jail, protecting the public is.
Erickson, who is also the chair of the County Republican Party, says he fears some are trying to hijack the initiative into more than it really ought to be.
But, Health Committee Chair John McIntyre says $3.6 million a year in mental health services are already being delivered by the county. He says the jail initiative and new mental health services are an attempt to make it more efficient.
McIntyre says the plan is to provide a facility that will meet the national standards of the National Institute of Corrections.
There was only a single no vote on the issue, from board member George Wendt.