The Effingham County Health Committee talked budget at Wednesday’s meeting. The county was proposing a $75,000 increase to the Health Department’s budget, but after having to pull from reserves to cover a budget deficit that number is being reevaluated. Some of the duties performed by the Health Department include providing immunizations, health inspections for restaurants and businesses, public health programs (for underprivileged kids and adults), and emergency preparedness.
According to Health Department Director Jeff Workman, the budget request isn’t just to expand, it’s to ensure that the county is prepared for a large-scale health emergency. “If we very have any real events,” Workman said. “We are not at all ready.” The Health Department has 16 employees in total, but in the case of a medical emergency, such as a disease outbreak, Federal guidelines say that they would need to administer medicine to all 34,000 Effingham County residents within 48 hours. “We’ve cut beyond the bones, to speak,” Workman continued.
A tentative FY17 budged has been approved by the board, however it is still subject to change. While the current budget is balanced, discussions about the county tax levy are still ongoing.