PREBLE COUNTY — When citizens of Preble County showed up to the polls on Tuesday, March 15, they voted heavily in favor of a tax levy renewal for the county’s General Health District.
The renewal, which was .3 mills, passed with nearly 60 percent in favor of the continued funding. It’s the same rate citizens have been paying into the health district since 2003.
“Our hope is to continue to excel and provide them the best services and to help them with any issues we can and as efficiently as we can with taxpayer money,” said Preble County Health Commissioner Erik Balster.
“I think it shows they have a genuine concern and interest for the well-being of public health in the county. They view it as a priority worth continuing to fund,” he added.
According to Balster the PC Health Department will use the funding for several of its daily activities. This includes inspections of restaurants, swimming pools, and general drinking water. It will also cover “vital statistics,” which covers all birth and death certificates which come through the county.
There are several services not funded by licenses which will benefit from the funds, as well. These are primarily clinical services which include communicable disease and disease investigations.
Currently, that is relevant to the Zika Virus, with the health department doing mosquito testing throughout the county.
Other items also provided by the health department are prenatal and reproductive health clinics which “ensure (citizens) are educated and given proper guidance throughout pregnancy,” said Balster.
Moving forward, residents in Preble County can look toward guidance from the department regarding the Zika Virus as the PCGHD is preparing an educational campaign for people traveling to regions where the disease is more prevalent.
“Part of our role and responsibility is to be prepared for the unknown and the next big health threat,” said Balster. “We do a lot of education in-house to help prepare for any kind of response we have to make to that. A lot of stuff we hope we never have to implement or use, but every once in a while something like Zika will pop up and we have to adapt and learn new ways to deal with it.”