While it is time to be passing a budget for next year, he
recommended that the board would hold off, even if it would mean
scheduling an extra meeting. There are many financial issues in the
air, he said. "Budgeting is a real guessing game right now with
state and county for next year," Hilliard said.
collects fees for services, in addition to a levy from the county
for its operational costs, but is mostly subsided by state grants
for its services.
Sally Gosda, director of finance, reviewed 2008 fiscal year
figures just returned from the auditor. She said that the year ended
with revenues exceeding expenditures by $10,343. It was projected to
have a $106,000 deficit.
The 2008 fiscal year ended with a fund balance of $1,226,006.
Hilliard added that those numbers were not as bad as anticipated,
primarily because the extra principal payment of $100,000 was not
made on the mortgage.
As of June 30, the health department showed a deficit for the
current fiscal year of $534,992. Contributing to that deficit is
that the state owed the health department $364,000 for grant
expenditures through the end of June. Also, the interfund transfer
of $43,000 from the tuberculosis fund had not been received yet.
Gosda added that an investment account was also closed out and that
the $182,910 was transferred into the checking account to prevent
cash flow issues due to delays in payment.
Some payment has been received in July, but the department is
still owed $250,000.
The biggest questions this year come from the state's financial
condition. Areas of the state budget that affect the health
department are still up in the air. While some grants are now
beginning to trickle in, the health department has not received many
of the grant contracts that usually arrive by April. Hilliard
recalled that the governor has been given the task of making
billions in cuts and has previously said that he would make those
cuts to social services.
What troubles the administrator most in the financial planning is
trusting the state. Much of the funding that the department depends
on is from state grants, such as the Local Health Protection Grant
that they have been awaiting word on receiving. It coincides with
the start of the state fiscal year that began on July 1. Hilliard is
concerned that the state could cut that grant by 10-20 percent or
say they would pay only 10 of 12 months.
The challenge to all health departments at this time is not just
the grant cuts, but that the state owes money. The health department
was fortunate going into this year because we had some money to
cover the state delays, Hilliard said. But the reimbursement delays
are expected to slow even more in the next year. The health
department is still owed $177,000 on a grant of over $400,000 for
last year's Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program.
The health department is required to maintain a significant
reserve fund that would cover the costs if there would be any major
health threat outbreak.
Some added challenges in this past year came when the county
stopped paying the department's FICA and IMRF (retirement fund). The
FICA and IMRF were approximately $106,000 each, $212,000 total.
Making up the differences created by the new responsibilities
would be difficult, as the department receives many smaller grants
that do not even allow to charge for time, let alone for benefits,
The county is now preparing the budget for its next fiscal year,
which begins Dec. 1. Hilliard said that the health department is
asking for its full levy. The levy is derived from property taxes
and would amount to an estimated $390,000. In recent years a portion
of the health department levy has been diverted to aid the county's
Hilliard said he took several measures to cope with the financial
He paid back his
raise for this past year.
employee working additional hours for IBCCP was discontinued for
One employee on
probationary status was terminated.
Three positions were laid off: one
health educator, a public health nurse and an IBCCP clerk.
Positions of two other employees slated for
layoff were spared when, for legal reasons, the state could not
eliminate the grant-funded program.
The 2009 expenditures were about 20 percent below base line. This
figure was used with the anticipated revenue to create the fiscal
2010 budget. "Right now that budget has a $500,000-in-the-hole in
it," Hilliard said. "If we don't get that money, then we will have
to do some other things, maybe a huge combination of things, such as
close one day a week, cut hours, require furloughs and more layoffs
to get down where we need to be."
[to top of second column]
Last month Hilliard participated by teleconference in a meeting of
regional health administrators to find out what other departments
are doing to cope with the state finances.
He learned that some health departments have borrowed from their
county, some have done layoffs, some are allowing for a reduction in
staff through attrition; and other departments the same size as
Logan County have changed work schedules, reduced employee hours,
reduced clinic hours or days that the department is open, and some
have called for employees to take furlough.
A need for additional public health care
On other matters for future public health care, Hilliard is
considering options that could get the dental clinic started. The
hope of a large grant last year fell through, but he thought the
project could be done a little at a time. The Illinois Department of
Healthcare and Family Services offers a two-year grant that provides
$70,000 the first year, which would go for readying three rooms with
plumbing, remodeling and electricity; and $30,000 is available the
second year to purchase additional equipment. This would get the
project going, but more funds would still be needed to expand, he
Hilliard said that he received a letter of resignation from Matt
Ringenberg, director of environmental health. Ringenberg will be
going to the Illinois Department of Public Health to serve as an
emergency response coordinator. He will be representing the East
Peoria Region. Logan County will be in his territory.
Depending on the status of grants, Hilliard said that
Ringenberg's position may not be filled right away.
Health department activity updates
Some of the highlighted activities of the health department:
education, two billboards are up promoting oral cancer
There will be
extra food inspections during the Lincoln Art & Balloon
with other area responders in emergency preparedness exercises
and planning teams, a three-year cycle will ramp up to a
full-scale exercise in 2012. A functional tabletop exercise that
includes actions from the health department is scheduled for
later this month.
A couple of
employees responded to the mutual aid request put out by Rock
Island when that area had a hepatitis A outbreak. Mass
vaccination was employed.
H1N1 "swine flu":
Vaccine is expected to become available this October but will be
in limited quantity at first. When it arrives, the vaccine will
be administered to priority groups, with the most vulnerable
population, the health community and emergency responders,
getting the first round.
The Pandemic Flu Coalition, led by
Shana Bean, emergency response coordinator, continues to meet,
with plans to keep the community informed on what to do and how
to stay healthy.
Board members present were Mike Rohrer, president; Robert Cox,
vice president; Roger Bock; Paul Kasa, M.D.; Richard Bivin, M.D.;
and Wm. Todd Walker, D.M.D.
The board welcomed Maxine Lolling to her first meeting. She's a
former emergency room nurse who has taken over the unexpired term of
Deidre Berger until December 2010.
Absent was David Hepler, D.C., county board representative.
For more information, visit the Logan County Department of Public
Health on the Web at