Health Department dealing with drastic budget cuts
By Kathryn Schiliro
With cuts put into effect, the Morgan County Health Department's budget fell from over $570,000 in 2008 to over $528,000 in 2009, a decrease of almost $43,000 or seven percent.
While the health department will again receive more than $180,000 from the county, revenues from Grant in Aid, among other items, are set to decrease this year while revenues from WIC should increase. On the other hand, expenditures have decreased from 2008 to 2009, largely a result of a cut in personnel benefits.
"The budget went from a substantial deficit to being at least balanced," District Health Director Claude Burnett said.
The board also learned of the county commissioners' decision to deny a proposal to increase the county's Environmental Health Fees.
Previously discussed at the Board of Health's November 2008 meeting, the proposal that went before the commissioners asked for an increase in Environmental Health Fees in the county that would generate $9,000. It was proposed that septic tank inspection rates would increase by $25, while re-inspection would increase by $50, according to a report from the previous meeting.
The proposal initially came about as an effort to combat the decrease about $14,000 in Environmental Health Fees in the past year, the result of a decline in the building industry as well as increased millage rates.
Morgan County Commission Chairman Mack Bohlen explained the commissioners' decision, citing the economy as well as the loss of part-time personnel, whose position was related to the Environmental Health Fees, as reason to deny the proposal.
"It's not the time to raise Environmental [Health] Fees," Bohlen said. "Plus we've lost that part-time person. How can we justify [the proposal] without that part-time person?"
In other news, Morgan County Department of Health Nurse Manager Mary Alice Gilbert reported that Morgan County Public Health Educator Mitzi Jackson received 100 percent participation in the sex education program she teaches at Morgan County Middle School. Participation in the program requires parental approval.
"They've been very receptive," Gilbert said.
Gilbert also let the Board of Health know that of the 1,000 doses of flu vaccine received by the Health Department, there were between 15 and 20 doses left.
Members in attendance unanimously elected to reinstate Dr. R.A. Weaver, Minnie Peek and Lynn Goodman as chair, vice-chair and secretary, respectively, of the Morgan County Board of Health.
PUBLISHED IN THE FEBRUARY 12, 2009 EDITION