Health board finances bleak; levy request considered

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Tire dump case sent to EPA

 

Budget concerns for 2016 prompted Logan County District Board of Health  members to take a serious look during their Wednesday meeting at future funding options for the Logan County Health District, including the possibility of placing an operating levy on the November ballot.

According to the anticipated 2016 budget, there will not be enough revenues to cover the three months-worth of expenses that is required by law.

"When it comes to Dec. 31, 2016, we're broke," Board President Don Spath said.

Since 2009, the Logan County Health District has been funded by inside millage following the failure of several replacement levy attempts in 2007 and 2008. The agency tried again during May 2013 to pass a replacement levy, which also failed to meet voter approval.

Next year's budget incorporates the $550,000 in inside millage that the health district currently receives from each of the townships and municipalities, as appropriated through the county budget commission. However, LCHD officials stated that if $650,000 could be secured — either through levy funds or inside millage — this amount would be the break-even point to keep the agency afloat.

"To keep all of the programs, we would need to receive at least $650,000," Health Commissioner Dr. Boyd Hoddinott said. "We have no choice - we just have to try for the levy."

Members are considering options of a five-year operating levy, instead of the 10-year levy that was proposed in the past. The board likely will take official action toward declaring a resolution of necessity for a levy at their next meeting at 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 6.

During the environmental matters, members voted unanimously to send a case to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency regarding an illegal tire dump operated by Rodney Burnside II at the Randall Middaugh property, 4971 County Road 130, Huntsville. A story in Saturday's Examiner detailed the activity on this property and provided aerial photographs showing an estimated 200,000 tires that have been amassed at this location.

In September, the health board ordered Mr. Burnside, dba Freedom Recovery and Recycling, to clean up the property that has been receiving thousands of used tires for several years now.

On Nov. 6, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency along with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation executed a search warrant at the property to assess the situation.

As temperatures continue to warm, health officials fear that the massive number of tires present a strong attraction for mosquitoes, and a breeding ground for mosquito-borne illnesses such as West Nile virus or human or equine encephalitis. Potential tire fire risks also are a concern.

For additional health board news, see Thursday's Examiner.