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Boston Seeks 4 More Mental Health Clinicians With Budget Request

Boston's needle collection team collected more than 20,000 improperly discarded needles in 2016. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)MoreCloseclosemore
Boston's needle collection team collected more than 20,000 improperly discarded needles in 2016. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on Monday upped his fiscal year 2018 budget request, seeking funding for four additional mental health clinicians.

The clinicians respond with police officers to people showing signs of mental illness. According to a statement from Walsh's office, the four new members of the Boston Emergency Services Team would "expand the program's success [citywide] in diverting people from arrest to mental health resources."

In early April, Walsh submitted a $3.14 billion budget proposal, which equaled a spending increase of 4.8 percent over current levels; Monday's resubmitted plan is for $3.15 billion.

In the statement, Walsh's office said the additional proposed spending is "made possible with health care cost containment savings and reduced debt service costs."

Along with the mental health clinicians, the resubmitted budget would provide funding to double the capacity of the city's needle collection team. Amid the opioid crisis, Walsh's office said the team collected more than 20,000 improperly discarded needles in Boston in 2016.

The higher spending plan would also allow the city to hire more building inspectors and graffiti cleaners, and to increase its commitment to the Vision Zero program.

The new iteration of the budget follows a series of City Council hearings, and now goes back to the chamber for final approval.

Earlier:

Benjamin Swasey Twitter Digital Manager
Ben is WBUR's digital manager. He occasionally reports about economic and transportation policy, social issues and politics.

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