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Harrison County Health Department facing budget issues

Updated: Wednesday, July 30 2014, 06:15 PM EDT
HARRISON COUNTY, Ohio -- Health Department officials are concerned about budget issues that are continuing to get tighter in Harrison County.
They say they're in survival mode. With the budget not adding up to keep them in the red for this year, they're asking commissioners for help to get them through.  
"Everything in the county here has been pretty much on an increase," county Health Department Administrator Charles Fisher said.
Fisher says their duties span a wide range from:
- Inspections (camp grounds, restaurants, temporary food service, septic and well systems)
- Animal bites
- Vaccinations
- Family planning needs
But new incidents have continued to pop up, forcing costly investigations.
"We had, last year, our first incident of rabies where a bat that we tested came out positive after it had bit an elderly lady," Fisher said.
Here's how the 2014 budget is projected:
Officials predict a budget of around $325,000, and are expecting to come up about $40,000 short for the year. That's where the loan comes in from county commissioners to get them back above even.
This fall, the health department is asking for a renewal on the levy that generates $80,000 and a 3/10ths mill increase. One mill would generate about $240,000. But the 3/10ths the department is asking for equals about $20,000.
"If the levy wasn't to pass, ultimately the state's going to mandate that another health department would take over," Fisher said. "And then the commissioners in this county are going to have to help fund a new health department."
In 2013, the health department took in a little more than $314,000 in revenues but had expenses of more than $317,473.82
A $29,000 carryover kept them from going in the red.
"This is not my health department," Fisher said. "This is not their health department; it's everyone's health department."
At the commissioners meeting Wednesday morning, they did approve that $40,000 loan to the health department.
The health department was already borrowing about $50,000 from the commissioners, meaning they owe the commissioners $90,000.

Harrison County Health Department facing budget issues

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