Crook County Commissioner Jerry Crafton has recently been named a member of the National Association of Counties' (NACo) Health Steering Committee by NACo President Javier Gonsalves.
>County Commissioner Jerry Crafton was recently appointed to a second term on a national steering committee, a position that could bring more funding to Crook County
NACo is the only national organization representing county governments in the United States. Its goals are to improve county government, act as a liaison with other levels of government, present the county position on national issues and advance public understanding of the role of counties.
NACo's 11 steering committees form the policy-making arm of the association. Each committee is comprised of approximately 60-100 county officials who meet several times during the year to examine issues critical to local government.
The steering committee's recommendations on legislative policies and goals are presented to NACo's membership during the association's Annual Conference. If approved, the recommendations become part of the American County Platform, which is the basis of NACo)s efforts in representing counties before Congress and the White House.
This is Crafton's second term as a member of the Committee. The benefit to Crook County during his first appointment has been pretty good.
"We are working on getting a $180,000 grant for the county's drug and alcohol program," he explained. "Those funds would go to purchase the building the program's 'Turning Point' facility is in." Turning Point Club House opened about a year ago and has about 25 clients. The program's thrift store, located 450 Fourth St., gives the community an alternative place to buy things and gives the workers a place to learn accounting and other skills.
"We should know soon," Crafton continued, "if we get this money. Sept. 11 really put a crimp in things."
Working through NACo and Oregon's Congressional Delegation, Crafton has applied for a $3.7 million grant which would be used to pay for the building of a new county human resources facility. The proposal is to use the money to purchase the property on Third Street between Dunham and Court streets.
The 20,000 square foot facility would become part of the overall city/county governmental campus. That grant might not be awarded this year, Crafton said. "But we've been asked by the delegation to resubmit our request again early in November. It would be terrific to get the grant. The county would have to come up with $500,000 in matching funds. That could come from the sale of 320 acres the county owns near the headwaters of the South Fork of the Crooked river. That land is surrounded by BLM land and they want it badly," Crafton explained.
These are not the only mental health pies that Crafton has his finger in. A member of the Association of Oregon Counties, he was recently appointed to that body's mental health committee.
Through the AOC, he was also named to a seat on the state governing board for ABHA (Accountable Behavior Health Alliance), a state program focusing on mental health. "This is a five-county program with an annual budget of $11 million and Crook County, being one of the smallest, only gets about a million a year from them."
The other counties taking part in that program are Jefferson, Deschutes, Benton and Lincoln.
And then there is the state Gambling Addiction Commission. Crafton was appointed by the AOC to a position on the statewide commission which also brings funding to Crook County. "They have a $3 million annual budget," Crafton said, "for our three county area. We have a few people who need help but not as many as Jefferson County; they have the casino. Deschutes County, of course, get the most from that program."
Even so, Crafton points out the obvious; "every one of these programs brings a little money to Crook County and helps our people."