Knox Commission Opposing Lakeshore Closing

The Knox County Commission has decided to ask a number of state leaders, including Gov. Bill Haslam, to delay closing Lakeshore Mental Health Institute for at least two years, reports the News Sentinel. They also agreed to seek a meeting with Mental Health Commissioner Douglas Varney, who some said has not returned their calls..
The commissioners unanimously backed the proposal at Monday’s work session, with an official vote to come next week.
Officials said they are concerned the community doesn’t have enough programs to serve many of the patients who end up at Lakeshore. They also said they expect a rise of mentally ill in the homeless and jailed populations if Lakeshore closes.
State Rep. Joe Armstrong, D-Knoxville, commended the commission and said he’d look into what could be done. He said a complete shutdown could create an “additional burden and additional costs” to city and county coffers.
Meanwhile, the commission also agreed to send a letter to the local legislative delegation requesting that members oppose any proposed changes that would weaken the state’s Open Meetings Act. They’ll further discuss the measure during next Monday’s regular meeting.

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