Health department board OKs $3.1 million budget for 2012, various fee increases
The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department board on Monday evening approved a $3.17 million budget for 2012, up from $2.94 million in 2011.
During discussion of the budget, director Dan Partridge said the department anticipated it would lose a $37,708 Local Environment Protection grant in July. To help make up for the grant, the department plans to raise fees for items that fall under enforcement of the sanitary code and pool licenses.
Among the fee increases set to go into effect Jan. 1, along with the number of activities projected in 2012, are:
• Initial septic site evaluation — $135, up from $75; 22.
• Septic repair permit — $265, up from $165; 25.
• Septic installer’s license — $100, up from $35; 30.
• Room addition inspection — $140, up from $75; 11.
• Pool license — $165, up from $160; 76.
The increases are expected to net about $7,000.
Partridge said he didn't expect any changes in the department’s services during 2012.
The department also will be up about four full-time positions in 2012, compared with a year earlier. The budget included a 1 percent cost of living adjustment for employees along with the possibility for a 2 to 4 percent merit salary increase.
Besides the environment grant, the department is not foreseeing any significant cuts in funding.
“Sometimes it makes me nervous that we are bucking the trend, but we have been on a tight rein. We have tried to control costs for a lot of years so I think we reacted sooner than some other agencies in the economy,” Partridge said.
Also, during the meeting:
• The board approved paying $19,900 to the Kansas University Center for Research to conduct a health assessment of Douglas County and provide a report. The assessment will pull data from Lawrence Memorial Hospital. It also will include information from public forums and surveys. The report is expected to be complete by Nov. 1, 2012.
• Partridge said he didn't anticipate providing a drive-thru flu vaccine clinic next year because of costs. He said the cost of this year's Oct. 8 clinic was $12,000 — or about $23.80 per individual. The clinic was provided this year and last year as part of an emergency training exercise, but he said more training was not needed. The department did ask the 505 participants if they would be willing to pay for services and if so, how much. They received 64 responses and the average amount was $13.95. Only four said they would pay nothing.
• Kim Ens, director of clinic services, talked about the department’s new client advisory group. The group will have an orientation in November and then it will meet quarterly and provide guidance. The eight clients range from age 19 to 80.