Pella Chronicle

Local News

March 14, 2013

Agan questions health board expenses

(Continued)

Dorn repeatedly asked Agan for a final number the supervisors intended to provide Public Health and she would work from there. Agan said he thought it was clear the number was $402,000, when the supervisors asked for the $20,000 cut to her original proposal.

She proposed cuts, totaling around $13,000. Reductions proposed included immunizations, CPR supplies, AED supplies, office equipment, health supplies and telephone lines.

Health Board Chair Pati Van Zante was concerned about proposing cuts to essential services Public Health exists to provide.

“There’s no way we want to cut core services,” Agan said. Cuts are expected to get worse as key funding sources – the state and federal governments – may be forced to reduce their expenses.

Dorn said she went through the budget, program by program. Some grants are factored into the costs of core services.

Even with grants and other funding sources, Agan researched the historical requests for Marion County funds by Public Health since fiscal year 2007-08. That year, the request was $319,000, but came down to $202,578 in 2008-09 and $126,522 in 2009-10. Dorn explained that, during those years, Public Health was receiving extra federal funding to fight H1N1 and not as much money was needed from the County. The request went up to $301,861 in 2010-11 and to $408,501. Increases, according to Dorn, were due to fewer federal funds flowing in, as well as the purchase of the new building.

Issues about administering WIC

On a separate agenda item, the Health Board was asked to approve applications for continued WIC (Women, Infants, Children) and tobacco prevention programs. Marion County administers WIC for multiple counties, and according to staff members, WIC does not use Marion County funds. However, Agan was concerned that Marion County was leaving itself open to liability and utilizing Marion County money to help residents from beyond the county lines.

“We’re losing money somewhere,” Agan said. He is also concerned about depending on grants and other outside sources, as they may go away. Few counties in Iowa administer the WIC program, he added.

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