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County health department gets budget increase

July 20, 1999

The Washington County Commissioners Tuesday approved a $31,217 budget increase for the Washington County Health Department so it can replace heating and air-conditioning equipment and high-mileage vehicles.

The Health Department is going to spend $142,868 for the heating and air-conditioning equipment and $106,697 for the vehicles, said Dr. Robert Parker, health officer.

The extra money was needed to meet a department budget shortfall.

The money will come from the fiscal 2000 capital improvement program budget. The fiscal year began July 1.

Since the department did not get some state grants it also has to lay off two part-time community health nurses, Parker told the commissioners. The hours of two other employees were reduced, one from 24 hours a week to 16 and the other from 16 hours to eight, he said.

The employees, whose positions are partially funded by grants, were told about the changes Tuesday afternoon, he said.

The personnel changes are unrelated to the capital shortfall, he said.

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County Commissioner William J. Wivell opposed Parker's funding request, expressing concern that all departments will return to seek additional funding. To do this when the county just finished going through the budget process is a mistake, he said.

County Administrator Rodney Shoop said he will not allow regular county departments to request more money unless it is an emergency. The Health Department is a state agency that receives some funding from the county.

- Scott Butki

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