In 1963 the Illinois General Assembly passed the Community Mental Health Act (House Bill 708), permissive legislation which enabled local governments to levy taxes for mental health purposes. The Act, which provided for the levy of a local tax on property pursuant to approval of a referendum, mandated the appointment of a mental health board to plan, fund, and monitor services for the mentally and developmentally disabled. In 1968 a referendum was passed by the citizens of St. Clair County establishing the authority for a local levy and creation of the St. Clair County Mental Health Board. During the past forty eight years the Board has provided funding support to approximately sixty different human service organizations and currently provides in excess of $2 million for community behavioral health services to twenty two different organizations.
The Board's authorization and mandated responsibilities are set forth in the community Mental Health Act (the Act), Illinois Compiled Statutes, Chapter 405, Act 20, Section 0.1 et.seq. Under the Act, townships, counties and other municipalities are given the authority to pass a referendum to levy an annual tax not to exceed .15% upon all taxable property in order to provide for the necessary funds or to supplement existing funds for community mental health facilities and services. The Act encompasses several other broad responsibilities, including planning and review and comment.