Health Dept. to stay at present location

By Alberta Stojkovic - The Sentinel

MOUNT GILEAD — At their March 18 meeting, the Morrow County Board of Health voted unanimously to pay the $72,000 per year for three years as required by the Morrow County Commissioners. This was the commissioners’ requirement for the Health Department to remain at its present location at the Community Services Building at 619 W. Marion Road.

At its April 1 meeting, Morrow County Commissioners voted unanimously to terminate the lease with Man Edge, LLC, for space in the Wilhelm Building. That space has been reserved for the Health Department since December in case the Board of Health chose to relocate there instead of paying the $72,000 as requested by commissioners.

The motion to terminate the Wilhelm Building lease noted, this is because “it has been determined that the space will no longer be needed for the Morrow County Health Department.”

Health Commissioner Pam Butler said the Board of Health is presently working on a written letter of agreement to state the terms of payment for the amount requested by commissioners.

In a special Board of Health meeting March 27 the board members worked on how they would pay for the $72,000 per year. Health Department fiscal specialist Jill Thompson gave an overview of the budget and a few ways they could make small cuts.

A main purpose of the special meeting was to determine what the Health Department’s allocation from townships and villages would be for future years. They are now receiving $33,000, which is divided up among all the townships and villages.

Thompson gave examples of ways they can stretch their finances in cutting the amount of supplies such as vaccines they have on hand. One other account still available is the balance of the landfill account that was used for attorney fees several years ago. Most savings will be in smaller amounts of $750 or $1,000.

County Auditor Pat Davies asked about the amount of carry over the Health Department will need to pay bills and salaries for the first quarter in 2020. Thompson estimated that $165,000 will be available in carry over, which would be about $35,000 to $40,000 short of the amount needed in the first quarter to pay bills and salaries.

The Board of Health agreed that the additional amount they will ask from townships and villages will be $22,000. This will make a total of $55,000 which they believe is a “fair and equitable amount” to request in allocations.

Chester Township Trustee Lynn Shinaberry said that the amount of allocation for the Health Department is divided among 16 townships and seven villages in the county. He said they will only have to pay a little bit more when it is the amount is divided among them. He said the Health Department will be paying most of the additional cost.

Board member Dr. Grant Galbraith went over background of the agreement for the new board member Holly Trainer. He explained that the Health Department has given a yearly “goodwill amount of $15,000” for use of the building for many years. Per Ohio Attorney General’s opinion, Health Districts are not required to pay rent and County Commissioners are to provide suitable space for Health Districts.

This year commissioners are asking $72,000 which is an additional $47,000 per year. One reason they gave for asking the added amount is the need for a new roof and maintenance on the building.

By Alberta Stojkovic

The Sentinel