County health department proposes large increase in tax asking
|By Holly Hudson, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, Iowa|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
"I have been on the board a long time," Dr.
"It's high, and the way I asked the board to authorize me to submit it to the
Meisinger detailed several cost increases and revenue reductions that contributed to the increase:
-- Scheduled 2.25 percent union contract wage increase,
-- 20 percent health insurance rate increase,
-- Affordable Care Act health insurance eligibility compliance,
-- New home care aid position,
-- Proposed clerk/typist,
-- Proposed vehicle capital request,
-- Reductions/loss of other grants,
The proposed budget totals
Expected revenue for fiscal year 2015 is
The budget request must be submitted to the
"So when they come back saying no, what's the plan?" Friedman asked.
"We need to remain aggressive in seeking grants and funding options and become less dependent on property taxes," Meisinger said. "... I don't have any delusions that we will be able to get everything we are asking for but, historically, the
"I suspect the
Two programs likely to be significantly impacted by probable cuts are the Childhood Lead Poison Prevention Program and the Refugee Health Services Program.
"There are a high number of homes, in
Children come in contact with or ingest the paint dust or paint chips, have elevated blood-lead levels and are at risk for learning disabilities or cognitive delays, Meisinger said.
"This program identifies children through screenings, and those children undergo treatment to address those elevated levels," he said. "It also identifies homes that present elevated lead exposure ... and mitigates the hazard."
For the last few years, the
"Currently, we estimate there are 1,200 Burmese refugees who have settled here," Meisinger said. "There is no refugee resettlement agency in this community addressing the needs of the Burmese. We took on that role."
"Invariably, when you do a screening, you find a host of other issues that need to be addressed. Some of these people have been living in refugee camps ... for 10 or 20 years."
Meisinger said the Burmese population, which suffers from low literacy and language skills, needs a great deal of assistance with housing, food, employment and communication.
"There is no one entity providing those services long term," he said.
The board's next meeting is scheduled for
County Finance Director
"As with other departments, we try to look at it as a countywide budget," Bronner said. "It's hard to look at a first draft of one department and say yes or no."
He did say that negotiated union pay increases are fixed costs, across all departments.
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