County officials are hoping to shed some light on what they claim are erroneous statements released by City of Turlock officials about a proposed mental health residential care project in Turlock.
Stanislaus County Behavioral Health will give a presentation at 9 a.m. Tuesday during the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors meeting about their past and continued proposed use of a Turlock adult residential facility for consumers on the mental health continuum of care.
The presentation comes following a City of Turlock press release sent out on Feb. 2 that criticizes a Stanislaus County plan to secure more residential placements in Turlock for people with mental health and substance abuse disorders.
In the press release, Mayor Amy Bublak said it was “dismaying” to find out from A & A Health Services, the company contracted by the County to provide residential treatment in Turlock, “that the target populations for the complex will be persons with severe mental health challenges, the homeless and persons recently released from state prison or county jail.”
The site of the planned residential facility, 1617 Colorado Ave. formerly known as Las Palmas Estates, is located near Dutcher Middle School, something that is also a problem, according to Bublak.
Along with the Mayor’s reservations about the population that will be served at the Colorado Avenue facility, Turlock City Manager Reagan Wilson also chastised the County for what he said is lack of transparency.
“The City was not briefed on the project and our police chief just heard about it this week despite the obvious impacts it will have on the neighborhood. I could go on, but let’s just say this isn’t how city and county government should collaborate,” Wilson stated.
Along with the press release, Mayor Bublak also posted a video on the City’s official Facebook page saying that the project “is not our direction” and “this is absolutely the wrong place and we were never advised of this.”
The County put out a social media post on Friday stating that the City of Turlock’s press release “contained some misinformation about the types of resources and services available for behavioral health consumers” at the proposed Colorado Avenue facility.
“Stanislaus County enjoys a positive and open relationship with the cities in our county, so this press release is both surprising and disappointing,” said the County.
In a letter to Turlock City Manager Reagan Wilson, Stanislaus County Behavioral Health Director Tony Vartan stated: “BHRS routinely places clients in need of residential care in facilities throughout Stanislaus County and California. The facilities accept these clients according to the scope defined under their licenses as well as their capacity and capability to safely provide for these individuals' needs. BHRS has been placing clients at the Las Palmas facility in Turlock for decades, during which BHRS provided supportive and treatment services, including rehabilitative groups, case management, therapy, medication services, and transportation to help facilitate their ongoing recovery process. The goal of treatment for individuals in these facilities is to provide treatment services while clients reside in a safe and rehabilitative environment. At the time of Las Palmas closing and transferring ownership of the facility to A&A Health services, BHRS had 29 clients residing at the facility who were subsequently moved to other facilities.”
Upon hearing the reaction of the City of Turlock about the proposed project, A & A Health Services (also known as Alamo Health) CEO Betty Dominici also put out a statement. In the statement, Dominici refutes that the City of Turlock had no idea about the project.
“Starting in July 2023, prior to closing escrow on the property, we had numerous contacts with the City of Turlock, both in person and by email, providing everyone with a description of Alamo Health Management’s services. After the close of escrow on September 15, 2023, we obtained four permits from the Turlock Planning Department as well as two permits from the Turlock Fire Department.
“With the last remaining permit needing to be issued, the City, with three rounds of comments on our plans, has requested substantial improvements to the ADA accessibility of the building recognizing the needs of the residents who will be living there. We have agreed to make those additional ADA changes and have created plans and budgeted to do so – investing further in Turlock.
“We have also called and e-mailed the Mayor’s office multiple times regarding the grand opening of the campus, and confirmed via emails and phone calls that Mayor Bublak was going to join us to launch the newly improved campus. AHMT had a zoom call with Mayor Bublak and her staff on January 31st during which it was agreed that the staff was going to assist in getting our final building permit issued.”
Dominici also stated that there had been no problem in the past decades-long partnership with both Stanislaus and Merced counties placing residents at the Colorado Avenue facility.
“Stanislaus County and Merced County has been placing clients of all ages at this facility since 1983. There is an unblemished history – for 41 years – of these residents living harmoniously within the City of Turlock. Going forward, the facility will only be for Stanislaus County Behavioral Health to send the same type of clients to this site as it has been for 41 years (no more out of county residents). It will NOT be a homeless shelter or used as a drug rehabilitation site as has been erroneously stated,” said Dominici in her statement.
The presentation at the Board of Supervisors meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday is open to the public and will be held in the Board Chambers at 1010 10th St., Modesto. The public can also watch the presentation live on YouTube at: https://www.stancounty.com/sclive/
“I look forward to getting the information out on Tuesday,” said Stanislaus County Supervisor Vito Chiesa. “We want to make sure the community is safe and consumers are safe, and the misinformation accomplishes neither. We hope to have an open dialogue with the presentation on Tuesday.”
City of Turlock officials are also expected to address the proposed project on Tuesday at the City Council meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. at City Hall, 156 S. Broadway in Turlock. The Turlock City Council meeting is also open to the public and available for viewing at: https://www.youtube.com/@CityOfTurlock