The Llano County Commissioners approved the hiring of a mental health deputy and continued to fund the preservation of records at Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting.
The commissioners voted unanimously to hire a mental health officer, with most of the funding to come from the state. The county received a grant from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission that will pay the officer’s salary. The grant requires the county to pay 25 percent per year through funding or in-kind services.
“There’s just a really prolific need in our community and all communities across the nation (for mental health resources),” said Llano County Attorney Rebecca Lange, who has spearheaded the effort to improve mental health services in the county.
Lange said the issue came to the forefront last summer when an issue arose and the county didn’t have the needed resources to solve the problem. Since then, there has been a greater focus on the issue and a greater cooperation with the Hill Country Mental Health and Developmental Disability center in Kerrville, which also serves Llano County.
However, since the facility is in Kerrville, more help is needed locally. Through cooperating with HCMHDD, a grant was located and approved for a mental health officer in the county.
Although the state will pay the officer’s salary, the county is responsible for providing a vehicle, uniforms, training, gas, tires and other necessities. The officer’s office will be at the local mental health district office.
Llano County Auditor Cindy Lent said since the grant is perpetuating, it will only go away if the state cuts its funding.
Lent estimates the cost to the county to be about $4,800-4,900 the remainder of this fiscal year. Due to start-up costs, such as the purchase of a vehicle, it should cost the county about $50,000 during the next fiscal year. After that, the cost to the county should average between $15,000 to $18,000 per year, she said.
John Neff, chief deputy at the Llano County Sheriff’s Office, estimates the cost to the county will be about $8,000 per year in fuel/flats, $6,000 per year in tires and $1,000 in training, in addition to a one-time cost of $1,600 for uniforms and body armor. The county could retrofit a vehicle currently being used for transports for the remainder of this fiscal year, Neff said.
Llano County Sheriff Bill Blackburn said the position would help in dealing with mental health situations, which at times takes many hours and personnel to handle. Lange said law enforcement officials spent over 500 hours dealing with mental health crisis situations from June 2014 to May 2015, which does not include time spent on routine transfers and in other areas.
“There’s also a lot of time spent at the hospital while we’re waiting for these folks to get medically cleared, and I’m talking about, sometimes, 12 to 24 hours, especially if they’re on drugs or something like that,” Neff said. “They have to come down off the drugs and be evaluated to send them somewhere.”
Linda Raschke, Precinct 2 county commissioner, praised Lange’s work in kickstarting the process to improve mental health in the county.
“At the very beginning of this process, we didn’t know who to reach out to. There was a wall,” Raschke said. “Becky’s been very tenacious in building a rapport with some very exceptional people.”
The commissioners voted unanimously to fund the second phase of the restoration and preservation of historic deed records, road minutes, election results and other historic documents at a cost of $200,790.92. The funds for the project come from the archives fees built up over the years, and those funds can only be spent on restoration efforts.
KOFILE, Inc., a company located in Dallas, recently finished the first round of restoration and preservation of historic documents. The second round of preservation will include 1800s records from Bexar and Gillespie counties, which once covered areas of what is now Llano County. Specific records to be preserved include deeds, road minutes, election records, record of sales and transcripts from Bexar County, and records and transcripts from Gillespie County.
Much of the paper and ink used to keep records many years ago were acidic, as were the tape and glue used to repair them. Each document will be put in a solution to remove acidity, which causes them to crumble. After they are removed from the solution, an image will be taken of the record to also keep it digitally. The documents will then be rebound in book form and each book will be kept in an individual fire proof casing.
There are at least 88 books that will be restored or repaired in the second phase of the restoration. Some of the years covered included 1838-1850 and 1852 into the early 1900s.
“I think this is a great project for the county, and I’m glad to see it happen after the loss of some of these old documents,” said Mary Cunningham, county judge. “You never know. Nobody plans on it, they happen unexpectedly.”
The commissioners also:
- Approved a resolution naming May as Mental Health Month.
- Approved the purchase of a fire proof filing cabinet for the county treasurer’s office.
- Voted to allow the Kingsland Masonic Lodge to place two recycling containers at the Llano County Park for aluminum can recycling.

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