House committee passes bill dealing with county contributions to local health departments

01/30/2018 06:02 PM

FRANKFORT – A bill which would allow the health district boards to negotiate among their members a dollar amount for each county to contribute their share to help fund a public health department for a designated area was passed by the House Standing Committee on Appropriations and Revenue.

House Bill 190, sponsored by Rep. David Hale, R-Wellington, says the bill is aimed at helping rural communities around the state.

“There’s quite a difference in the amount that counties contribute to this based on their property tax values,” Hale said. “So, we may have some counties that are maybe contributing 20 to 30 percent more to the district to provide the services for many of our rural counties.

The cost of creating and establishing the district health department shall be paid by
the counties comprising the district in proportion to the taxable property of each county as shown by their respective county assessments.

The annual expense of maintaining and operating the district health department shall be borne by each county reasonably and equitably through dollars contributed to the district’s operation in amounts determined by the district health department board and approved by the cabinet, or in proportion to the amount of the taxable property in each county, in amounts determined by the standards of the cabinet.

Gateway District Health Department President Bob Ratliff, told committee members about the need for the legislation.

“In 1994, i came aboard at Gateway, and at that time there were 54 health departments across the state,” Ratliff said. “Today we’re over 60, and a large part of why this is occurring is that you’re adding more health departments is the richer counties are pulling out of the districts because they feel they’re funding everybody else.”

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