County delays discussion of tax hike

The proposed increase would pay for mental-health and substance-abuse services.

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WALLA WALLA - Action by Walla Walla County commissioners on a proposed sales tax to boost mental health services has been postponed until later this month.

Commissioners had intended to address the issue Monday, but moved the date because one of the commissioners is unable to attend that day, said Connie Vinti, clerk of the board.

Commissioners will now consider the issue at their Oct. 10 meeting, Vinti said.

The proposed 0.1 percent sales tax would raise between $700,000 and $800,000 per year. The money would fund at least two psychiatric nurse practitioners and one substance-abuse specialist at the county level.

The proposal was brought forward earlier this year by county Human Services Director Daryl Daugs. A measure passed by the Legislature in 2005 allows counties to implement the tax to increase funds for mental-health and substance-abuse services.

After conducting hearings and taking comments on the issue, commissioners in July voted to postpone action until October to allow them time to get a better idea of the 2012 budget picture. If enacted by commissioners in October, the tax increase would not take effect until the start of next year.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318.

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