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Williams County had $1 million dollars from its 1 percent Public Safety Tax to award behavioral health grants, but, after receiving 19 applications totaling $7.274 million, Commissioners decided to approve an additional $1.118 million from its reserve fund, to stretch the awards a little bit further.

Williams County Communications & Research AnalystLindsey Harriman said all of the applications were worthy, and that those not recommended by the committee for a grant this time will still be getting some help, including a list of resources to help them find additional funding and help with recruitment and retention of employees.

“The applications came from long-standing service providers in the community, new providers and organizations located in other parts of North Dakota,” she said. “The applications were insightful, thoughtful, and we really appreciate the time that providers took to submit the applications.”

The applications were reviewed by a committee which looked at the range of services that would be provided, the populations that would be served, the longevity of the provider, the potential impact of the grants, and other considerations.

The total amount of the awards, including money from reserves, is as follows:

• $549,000 to Chatter Pediatric for hiring incentives over a five-year period for mental health professionals, and for providing services outside of Williston.

• $547,000 to Eckert Youth Homes for expanded outpatient space, hiring personnel and providing services outside of Williston.

• $165,000 to Montgomery Counseling for equipment to expand and enhance telehealth, hire and train personnel, rent additional space, and provide transportation vouchers and hardship assistance.

• $500, 000 to Katie Shannon to purchase a building, hire personnel, and for programming and advocacy.

• $154,562 to Volk Human Services to rent space for a year, upgrade telehealth equipment and purchase equipment, hire and train personnel.

• $112,983 to Prizm Services to acquire space and equipment and hire personnel.

• $89,455 to the Williams County Sheriff’s office for continued behavioral health programming.

With a few exceptions, the entities won’t receive funds until they have expenses to reimburse. They must also report back to commissioners on how the grant money was used, and the impact that it had.

Harriman said a behavioral health resource directory is also being prepared for the county’s website, to help connect people with services they need.

The county might also consider making more behavioral health grants in the future. County Commissioner David Montgomery suggested that funds the county will be receiving from one of the COVID-19 stimulus packages should be used toward that purpose. Williams County will be receiving an estimated $7.3 million from that.

“I think all the details have to be worked out with the federal government on how that money can be spent,” he said. “But I guess common sense would tell me that with the pandemic and all the behavioral health issues that have happened because of the pandemic, some of that money should be able to be used for future grants.”

Commissioners also:

• Declared the second week of April to be National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week in Williams County, to recognize the hard work and dedication of dispatchers who relay vital information to police and firefighters whenever an emergency occurs.

• Conducted a public hearing and approved the first reading of an ordinance granting $10,000 to Cow Creek Cemetery to demolish a dilapidated church building and install a cemetery sign. A second ordinance that looks at opening up grants for other cemeteries was deferred to the Finance Committee for review.

• Approved a conditional use permit requested by Robert Hvinden for an additional single-family dwelling on a 160-acre property zoned agricultural in the Nesson Valley Township.

• Approved a request from Shelby Anderson for a zone change to rural residential for a proposed 16-acre lot zoned agricultural in the Hardscrabble Township.

• Approved a request on behalf of Lund Oil for a conditional use permit to store bulk fuel for sale on a 6-acre parcel zoned industrial in Williston Township.

• Approved a request made by Tammie Bentz for a zone change from agriculture to urban residential for two proposed 2-acre lots in the Trenton Township.

• Approved a re-subdivisioin for a property located in Buford Township, that will combine two lots into one lot.

• Discussed amendments to an agreement with North Dakota Department of Transportation related to a kiosk contract.

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