September 14, 2021 meeting :  Benton County Commissions estimates at least three years to open the Behavioral Health Recovery Center but would fast track the process where they could.  To start the process the commission has reached out to the LifePoint attorney regarding purchase of the former Kennewick General Hospital property.

Commissioner Small has talked to individuals and large employers in the area andhas not heard from anyone opposing the .01% addition to the sales tax to fund the Behavior Health Recovery Center, just support.

The county is working on a draft ordinance to the tax and looking at the 1st or 2nd week of November to have a public hearing. Later the county will be working with Department of Revenue to collect the tax.

When Commissioner McKay hinted that Ben Franklin Transit may give up .01% of their tax money to contribute to building the new facility, no one responded. At a recent meeting, the Ben Franklin Board voted against giving up the tax that had been approved by voters some years ago.

September 21, 2021 meeting: The county presented a letter to the Board they want to send to the State to show their sincerity for a Behavioral Health Recovery Center. This was called Mental Health Center then Community Resource Center (CRC) and now Behavioral Health Recovery Center. BHRC has a nice ring for sure; better than CRC because I could see guys showing up to play ping pong or billiards or asking where the water slide is in this hotter than a matchstick spot on the map.

In a nutshell the letter says: The center will serve Benton County and surrounding areas providing treatment options to the community as an alternative for incarceration or frequent trips to the hospital. The county has 2.7 million dollars from Department of Commerce for planning the facility at the old Kennewick hospital. The County plans to use its own funds of 1.6 million to buy it. Total cost of project is expected to be about 20 million dollars. The County is trying to get more funding from federal, state and local levels.

Hi, I am Mike Lowery and will be helping the Observer cover events in Benton County. I have
spent about 25 years of my 60 year life in the Tri-Cities, most in Richland. After Army and a
short career working on boats I went on to college at CBC. Then I worked 15 years on
commercial nuclear power plants. We moved back to Tri-Cities and been in Richland for 20
years. I tried to help Hanford for 18 years. I have three degrees from Columbia Basin College,
yes that’s weird. Studied economics and religion at Liberty University, St. Leos College in FL,
University of Illinois, University of Washington more at CBC. House dad now to my working wife, two cats and a dog. Our boy’s all work and study in the northwest. I spend time riding my electric bike or crashing it, building small wood and metal projects, enjoying Electronic Music and camping. Writing is something I love to do but not very good at it.