The March 5 Marion County Board of Health meeting welcomed two new members, Rebecca McKay and Karen Goff. The inaugural session of the board for the duo was filled with issues raised by Marion County Supervisor Craig Agan.
One of the first issues was in regard to the board’s budget. Through discussion at the health board meeting, it was learned that the original budget proposed by Director Kim Dorn asked for $422,000 for Public Health. The supervisors, according to Agan, asked her to reduce that request by $20,000. Additionally, the supervisors asked her to cut $12,000 from the Environmental Health portion of the budget.
Dorn said she could not find $12,000 to cut from Environmental Health without it affecting staff. The department, which began in 2008 with one staff member, has three today. Agan was concerned about the department’s growth. Environmental Health, according to Dorn and Environmental Health Director Cory Frank, has taken on inspection duties that were once the responsibility of the State. All three employees are full-time, and the reduction would have made one of them part time.
Environmental Health was founded with one staff member, Frank. Frank said the addition of the first employee was due to increased duties for the office. This employee was working for the Auditor’s Office, then split time with Environmental Health as work with the auditor decreased. She officially transferred later. The third employee was added to guarantee services as the state became less dependable.
Factored into Public Health’s budget request was a 2 percent wage increase for employees. The department had originally sought 3 percent, but the supervisors have asked every department keep pay increases to 2 percent or below.
Those on the County payroll are also being asked to contribute a portion of the cost of individual health insurance policies, whereas no contribution was sought in years past. Those on family plans will continue to contribute to those costs.