Health department seeking replacement levy

By Eddie Mowen Jr. -

PREBlE COUNTY — All Preble County voters will see a 0.3-mill, 5-year replacement levy for funding the health programs of the Preble County General Health District on their ballots on Tuesday.

Levying of the replacement issue would commence in 2019, and be first due in 2020.

In a recent editorial, PC Health Commissioner Erik Balster explained to voters, whether they realize it or not, “the health department touches your lives in countless ways behind the scenes to keep you and your family healthy and safe. Every day, the Preble County Health Department provides essential services that prevent disease, promote health, and protect Preble County residents from a variety of illnesses and injuries.”

“Over the last year alone, it’s possible you could have requested a copy of your birth certificate, gotten a flu shot at our immunization clinic, or had lunch at a local restaurant. In each of those instances, the health department had an important impact on your life and others who live, work, and play in Preble County,” he said.

“The breadth of services provided by the health department are vast and include familiar services like the inspection of restaurants, swimming pools, and the water you drink. Equally important are the services we provide without a fee to all individuals regardless of income or insurance status. These services include communicable/infectious disease investigations, emergency preparedness and nuisance complaint investigations,” Balster explained. “Additionally, our clinics provide prenatal and reproductive health services, assistance and management for families with children needing medical diagnosis and treatment, as well as the Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) supplemental nutrition program. Finally, as new threats arise, such as the opioid epidemic, West Nile Virus or the re-emergence of Hepatitis A, we also are called to take on additional challenges.”

To fund some of the services, the Health Department has been running the current .3 mill levy since 1976. The department receives the same valuation from the levy as it did in 1976.

Why is the agency seeking an increase?

“Goods and services simply don’t cost the same today as they did in 1976,” Balster noted. “The price of equipment, expertise and supplies we need, as well as the frequency of public health threats have increased over the past couple of decades. Replacing this levy allows us to “catch up” to the 2018 costs of doing business, which would allow the health department to maintain the staff and tools needed to provide essential health services to our community.

“Successful replacement of this levy will shift the available funds to a modern level that would continue to be used responsibly by the Health Department. We are confident the benefits and services that the Health District are providing our community are plentiful and are a good value for your dollar. As a nationally accredited health department, you can be assured that the programs and services we provide are as responsive as possible to the needs of our community while demonstrating increased accountability and credibility to the people we serve here in Preble County.”

By Eddie Mowen Jr.

Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.

Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.