Health budget OK’d: 2013 budget includes pay increase

Estimated resources and permanent appropriations for 2013 were approved Tuesday by Auglaize County Health Board members.

Auglaize County Health Commissioner Charlotte Parsons said the department’s overall budget of more than $1.8 million, plus more than $324,390 for Families and Children First, is a decrease of $100,000 from 2012.

“It’s a difference in grants,” Parsons said. “The general fund is about identical.”

The budget was passed with little discussion from board members, who in December approved giving 3 percent pay increases to the department’s 27 employees.

Parsons said the cost of living continues to get more expensive and as much as the budget would allow they wanted to reward their employees for the work they do.

By not replacing a couple of employees who retired in 2012, Parsons said even with the pay increases, the department is actually saving money on payroll in 2013. The duties of those positions not being filled are being divided among other employees.

Employee salaries — the biggest line item in the Health Department’s budget — accounts for $1.2 million each year, this year with a $60,000 decrease from 2012.

Health Department employees are expected to face higher insurance costs this year however, as renewing plans with the same carrier adds up to a 13 percent increase, with the line item going to approximately $178,000 this year. Employees are responsible for paying 15 percent of their premiums.

Parsons said throughout the budget, they planned for the worst, giving them room to make adjustments.

In other financial matters Tuesday, board members approved mileage reimbursement rate increase from 55.5 cents to 56.5 cents per mile to follow the IRS mileage reimbursement rate as they have for the past five years for employees.

They also approved a contract with Van Wert County Health Department for 2013 Immunization Action Plan grant for $13,358. The two counties share the grant.

Board members approved home health write-offs for 2012 totaling $1,280, less than half of what they were in 2011.

In other business, the Health Department’s Environmental Health Director Curt Anderson said during the past year they have continued to have trouble with people not getting or showing proof of vaccines for their animals after a bite.

Board members approved three seven-day orders for pet owners to show proof of a current rabies vaccination after bites. All instances involved owners being bit by their own pets after breaking up a fight or playing rough with them.

Anderson said they tend to give owners more time to comply when they were the ones bitten by the dog or cat, but after several weeks working with these owners he has not had any success.

The orders were extended to Bruce Fisher, 126 Longview Court, St. Marys, Melisa Harper, 227 Northway Drive, St. Marys; and Scott Revolt, 915 Parkway Drive, Lot 7, St. Marys.