One month after voters in East Baton Rouge Parish rejected a proposed property tax that would have funded The Bridge Center for Hope, a mental health diversion and crisis stabilization center, the center’s board of directors is preparing to meet next week for the first time since the election and figure out where to go from here.
“This is critical for the community,” says District Attorney Hillar Moore III, a member of the center’s board. “We will keep working on it.”
What exactly that means, however, is hard to say. Executive Director Rob Reardon says he’s had some internal discussions about bringing the issue back before voters, though the earliest that could happen would be the next regularly scheduled election this fall. But so far there’s no decision on if and when another dedicated millage might find its way onto a local ballot.
In the short term, Reardon will be applying for grants that, if awarded, would enable the center to fund some sort of program on a limited basis. Reardon is also waiting to hear on a couple of grants totaling some $100,000 that he applied for last fall. One of those grants would enable the center to potentially establish a pretrial mental health program.