Greensboro in 2020 is going to be in the mental health business, which has always been a province of the Guilford County government.

One of the issues raised about Greensboro starting a mental health program was that it was a service provided by Guilford County, but it appears that Guilford County is at least going to participate in paying for the program.

City Manager David Parrish told the City Council at the meeting on Dec. 17 that Guilford County had allocated $250,000 in its budget for the Greensboro mental health program. Parrish said that he had discussed the allocation with Guilford County Manager Marty Lawing.

City Councilmember Justin Outling asked if the allocation was going to be continuing or if this was one-time money and Parrish said all he knew was that it was in this year’s budget.

The money is in the Guilford County 2019-2020 budget; $500,000 was added to the budget by the Guilford County commissioners “tor the purpose of Public Safety, Behavioral Health, and Community Welfare needs.”

Guilford County Commissioner Alan Branson, who was chairman when the budget was passed, described the allocation as “a last minute effort.”

Branson said that the money was placed in the budget for a Greensboro mental health “quick response team.”

He said, “We were supposed to have some discussion about what type of advanced program they were going to operate.”

Branson said as far as he knew there had not been a follow-up discussion about the program the city was starting and how it was going to operate. He said that would be necessary before the money actually changed hands.

According to Branson, the county commissioners would have a lot of the same questions that City Councilmembers Outling and Tammi Thurm had at the Dec. 17 City Council meeting – such as what the process will be to have a team dispatched after someone calls 911 and how the SEL Group, which landed the $500,000 contract with the city, will go about providing coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Similar questions at the City Council meeting went unanswered or received contradictory answers.