NAPOLEONVILLE — Budget constraints will force the state-operated mental health center in Assumption Parish to close its doors in October, agency representatives told the parish Police Jury on Wednesday.
The Labadieville center offers assistance to parish residents who have been diagnosed with mental health, developmental or addictive disorders.
The center operates under the direction of the recently created South Central Louisiana Human Services Authority, which covers a seven-parish region.
Lisa Schilling, executive director of the authority, said that clients from the Assumption location would receive services at the agency’s office in Morgan City, a distance of about 17 miles.
A $4 million decrease in the agency’s budget, as well as the loss of one-time funding from the BP oil leak recovery, caused cuts to the services the agency can provide, Schilling said. She added that the agency’s satellite clinic in southern Lafourche Parish was closed last year.
“We were encouraged then to close the Assumption office, but we did not,” she said. “We tried to keep it open.”
The total operational cost for the Assumption facility is just over $400,000 a year, Schilling said, with only $80,000 generated in revenues.
Schilling said of the nearly 400 clients served by the agency, most are from Assumption Parish and many are indigent. Schilling said no employees would lose their jobs with the Assumption closure, and affected employees would be moved to the St. Mary Parish office.
Human Services Authority Board Chairman Ray Nicholas told jurors that the clinic’s closure will take place over time.
“It won’t happen abruptly,” he said. “We’re meeting with clients right now to ensure they’d have available transportation.”
Schilling said she has initiated discussion with the Assumption Parish Council on Aging on possible transportation assistance measures.
Other matters included:
BAYOU DREDGING: Bayou Lafourche Freshwater District Director Archie Chaisson told jurors that the dredging project along the bayou is still moving ahead of schedule.
The district is working to dredge the upper reaches of the bayou in southern Ascension Parish to allow better water flow to the bayou’s lower reaches in Assumption, Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes.
Chaisson said the project should be completed by early September.