HEALTH

The Columbus Dispatch - - Front Page - [email protected]­patch.com @hol­lyzachariah

The city of Cir­cleville used to pay 50 per­cent of the ad­vi­sory’s coun­cil fund­ing, and each of the other en­ti­ties chipped in to col­lec­tively cover the other half. Af­ter Cir­cleville Mayor Don McIl­roy took of­fice, he didn’t think too much of that. He ne­go­ti­ated, and this year, the city’s share dropped to 40 per­cent.

That means the city now pays $164,000 of the to­tal $ 410,000 that the coun­cil gets to fund the depart­ment. The rest comes from the other

town­ships and vil­lages.

But as dis­cus­sions oc­curred over time about fund­ing shares, the shift was made to con­sider an over­all levy to al­low for im­proved pro­gram­ming, McIl­roy said.

If the plan stays at a 0.5- mill level, the tax would gen­er­ate a lit­tle more than $700,000 for the health depart­ment. In turn, as some of the fund­ing bur­den would shift to prop­erty owners, the money col­lected from the gov­ern­ment en­ti­ties would drop from $410,000 to $205,000.

Ac­cord­ing to the As­so­ci­a­tion of Ohio Health Com­mis­sion­ers, 50 of the health dis­tricts in the state cur­rently col­lect money

from levies. Pick­away County never has col­lected one.

If the com­mis­sion­ers ap­prove the tax is­sue, and vot­ers even­tu­ally ap­prove it, the health depart­ment would be able to serve the pub­lic so much bet­ter, said Deputy Health Com­mis­sioner Jim­mie Davis.

He en­vi­sions be­ing able to have more full- time nurses, which trans­lates to more im­mu­niza­tion clin­ics and quicker com­mu­ni­ca­ble-dis­ease in­ves­ti­ga­tions. In ad­di­tion, the health depart­ment cur­rently pro­vides vac­cines only for those cov­ered by Med­i­caid or the un­der­in­sured ( be­cause those are state pro­grams). Ideally, Davis said, they should be able to pur­chase their own vac­cines and host mo­bile clin­ics for ev­ery res­i­dent.

“The more in touch we are with clients out in the com­mu­nity, and the more we get to know them, the more they see us as a re­source and we can bet­ter con­nect them with other ser­vices,” Davis said.

He also would like to run health-ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams in the schools.

“It’s very clear where our gaps are now,” Davis said. “A levy would help us im­prove and main­tain pub­lic- health ser­vices in this county.”

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