Miami County Board of Health seeks levy renewal

MIAMI COUNTY – The Miami County Board of Health passed a resolution to place a 10-year, 0.4mill renewal levy for Miami County Public Health on the May 2021 ballot.

The longtime levy was last renewed in 2010, according to Miami County Public Health Health Educator Vicky Knisley-Henry.

“Truly, the prevention of disease and disability is much less expensive than curative medicine. But the ounce (of prevention) has to come from somewhere and that somewhere is levy funds provided by property taxpayers,” Knisley-Henry said. “The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of public health, especially emergency response services.”

If renewed, the tax funds will help Miami County Public Health (MCPH) continue to provide much need community services such as maternal and child services like Help Me Grow and reproductive health clinics, communicable disease investigation and education, food and water protection, health education, safe communities, HIV and AIDS diagnosis and education, vital statistics, and emergency preparedness and response, she said.

“These are only a few of the cost-effective interventions that are conducted by the health district. Public health works for all of us each and every day,” Knisley-Henry said.

Knisley-Henry said MCPH also receives funding through grants and fees for services, along with a small state subsidy of $15,000 each year.

She said the annual budget for the year 2020 was $4,297,000. Knisley-Henry said MCPH actually spent less than the projected amount as they put some capital improvements on hold and received funding for pandemic-related expenses.

“We received state funds to cover the costs of the COVID-19 response,” she said.

Knisley-Henry said the MCPH’s 2021 projected budget is $4.183 million. MCPH currently employs 51 people, she said, including a number of temporary and part-time employees for the COVID-19 response. MCPH, under normal circumstances, has around 40 full-time staff, she said.

Knisley-Henry stressed the importance of the levy’s renewal in order to continue to offer the many services used by residents of the county.

“Public health touches community members in all aspects of their lives … for underserviced and underinsured populations, and emergency preparedness for events like pandemics,” she said.