BISMARCK, N.D. – The Burleigh County Commission earlier this month approved pooling with the North Dakota Association of Counties to help fund a short-term program for public guardians of incapacitated adults.
In the joint powers agreement, commissioners agreed on Aug. 5 to set up a two-year funding source by collecting a special one-tenth of one mill in property taxes. The fund is intended to help pay for supervision of adults with limitations who live below the poverty level and who have no family supervision.
Through House Bill 1041, the 2013 Legislature approved giving $828,600 to the state Office of Management and Budget to start taking over the costs of guardianships from counties. The bill’s intent is that the state will take over the entire costs of the program in two years, but that will require final Legislative action in 2015.
In the meantime, counties are being asked to pay half the cost for all public guardians assigned before July 1, 2013 through the partial mill levy. The state has asked that the North Dakota Association of Counties collect the counties’ half. The balance will be paid for by a state grant through 2015.
Each of the 53 counties in the state is being asked to each contribute the one-tenth of a county mill for two years to help pay for the guardians.
Burleigh County’s partial mill levy will generate about $31,500 for the program. The county is now paying a contracted private company -Guardian and Protective Services Inc. – $27,000 to supervise incapacitated adults and partially waives rental space at the county-owned Provident Building for the company’s offices.
A guardian for an incapacitated adult handles their financial dealings, has power of attorney, ensures they are taking care of themselves and does other needed paperwork for the individual, said Terry Traynor of the North Dakota Association of Counties.
Traynor said the said the county association was asked by the state to organize an insurance-type program to help fund the guardianship fund.
He said the new state law now also requires that all guardians of adults receive formal training, that professionals, social workers, doctors and attorneys report suspected abuse or exploitation of incapacitated adults, and creates more funding for guardians of adults.
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Burleigh to share in guardianship costs for adults