Wayne County would need three times its 2022 opioid settlement money to fill all the requests it has received.
Applications for the county’s $411,000 initial share of the national settlement requested in excess of $1.2 million. Twenty-three not-for-profit entities filed applications by the Dec. 28 deadline.
Wayne County will receive nearly $2 million through 2038 from the national settlement with Johnson & Johnson, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson for their role in the nationwide opioid epidemic. The county recently received its large 2022 payout, but the annual payouts decrease significantly. For example, the county is expected to receive about $75,000 in 2023.
Boston, Cambridge City, Centerville, Dublin, East Germantown, Economy, Fountain City, Greens Fork, Hagerstown, Milton, Mount Auburn, Richmond, Spring Grove and Whitewater also are receiving settlement money. Their estimated 2022 payouts range from about $30 for Milton to about $370,000 for Richmond.
Commissioner Mary Anne Butters spearheaded development of a scoring system for applicants and their programs. The most weight is given to programs designed to reduce local opioid fatalities.
“I see no higher priority than stopping opioid fatalities,” she said during commissioners’ Dec. 28 meeting when revealing the application numbers.
Because of the decrease in 2023 funding, requests will also be rated on ability to sustain programs without continued financing.
Butters indicated the $1,244,596 requested was less than expected.
“We’re not as overwhelmed as I thought we’d be,” she said.
Centerstone requested the most funding at $215,130, followed by Crossroads Recovery Center at $160,000, Richmond Community Schools at $112,466 and Girls Inc. at $100,000.
The commissioners voted 3-0 to take the requests under advisement. Butters has expressed throughout the process a preference to distribute the money quickly to begin seeing benefits.
In other actions Dec. 28, commissioners reviewed changes they would like made to the advisory plan commission’s proposed ordinance that would regulate commercial solar parks within the county. The recommended changes will return to the plan commission for consideration during its Jan. 19 meeting.
Commissioners also unanimously adopted a new purchasing policy for county departments. The policy defines purchases that need advance commissioner approval, special purchases and emergency purchases.