Fiscal Court hears Health Department goals and tax rate
Published 11:17 am Wednesday, June 21, 2023
BY FIONA MORGAN
Health Department Director Brent Blevins gave an update on their goals and the tax rate for the upcoming year at the Fiscal Court meeting on June 13.
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As Kentucky has recently implemented a compensating tax rate for health departments, their tax rate is staying the same this year as last.
This tax is a special ad valorem tax upon all property subject to taxation in Boyle County. This year the Health Department is maintaining a rate of 3.6 cents per $100 of the assessed valuation of all real property, and at 3.6 cents assessed valuation of all personal property; and at 3.6 cents per $100 of the assessed valuation of all motor vehicles in Boyle County, beginning Jan. 1, 2024.
Blevins highlighted some of the services they offered from June 2022 to April 2023. They served 1844 at a clinic, gave 924 flu shots, and did 420 Biometric Screenings. In the Harm Reduction / Syringe Exchange Program, they had 1,176 participants. They gave 401 HIV tests, had 1,245 health education encounters, and distributed more than 1,500 Narcan doses.
The Health Department’s revenue has mostly increased over the past four years, as well as their expenses. In 2019, their revenue was just under $1.4 million; and in 2022 it was over $1.9 million. In that time, the taxing district revenue went up from about $832,000 to about $948,000.
Blevins went over their future plans and long term goals. He said now that they have a little more money, they can look at hiring positions they’ve been wanting to have, like a health educator. The educator would inform the public on issues like tobacco, obesity, homelessness, diabetes, and lung cancer.
They also want to hire a full time Harm Reduction employee to address issues like substance use and homelessness. They currently have a Harm Reduction employee, but that position is funded through a grant, which Blevins said will eventually run out.
Lastly, they want to explore the need for mental health and physician services. Services they hope to continue or increase are: Immunizations, TB, STD’s, WIC, Nutrition Counseling/Diabetes, HANDS, BioMetric Screenings, Family Planning, Lead Screening, Women’s Health screenings, HIV/Hep testing, Harm Reduction, Vital Statistics, Blood Pressure, Food Safety, Food establishment inspections, On-Site Sewage, Food Handler Certification, Emergency Preparedness, Rabies Prevention, Radon Kit Testing, Tobacco Cessation, Flu/Covid vaccine clinics.
The county is in the process of reapportionment, which is redrawing the magistrate districts based on new census data every 10 years. A citizen group of three people have been working with Bluegrass Area Development District to redraw the boundaries. Boyle County Clerk Casey McCoy presented their first draft of the map at the meeting, to which magistrates had some concerns.
The new boundaries are based on population shifts throughout the county. On the new map, District 4 became smaller and Districts 1 and 2 became larger.
Districts all have to have the same population within 5% of each other. McCoy said that on the current map, District 1 is under 316 people, District 2 is under 127 people, District 3 is over 83,
District 4 is over 438, and Districts 5 and 6 are right where they need to be.
McCoy explained that on the draft map, District 3 would lose Caldwell Road to the Danville city limits and that area would go to District 1. District 4 would lose the area of HWY 127 to Shakertown Road. District 2 would gain the area from HWY 150 to HWY 52 to the Garrard County line.
McCoy said they are trying to keep the more rural districts as rural and keep the city districts as city. He said the new population concentration will turn District 3 into more of a city limits district, which McCoy said he thinks is a good call since most of the district is already in city limits.
Magistrate Jason Cullen expressed concerns with the draft map’s new boundaries and said he thinks they should go back to the drawing board. He said that the western-most district, District 1, shouldn’t expand too far northeast; that it should rather take some of District 2’s area and District 2 could expand north.
Magistrate Tom Ellis said he also had frustrations about trying to keep the balance between districts. With Districts 1 and 2 having to expand so much, magistrates have concerns about people in the new areas being able to properly represent the areas at large.
“I have a hard time thinking that somebody in Hunt Farm could run to represent Perryville, Forkland, and Mitchellsburg and that area,” Cullen said.
Cullen said he thinks they should try to move boundaries in Districts 5 and 6 as well, instead of only 1-4, so they could keep all the districts a little closer to their current areas.
Magistrates continued to discuss different ideas for redistricting, and ultimately asked McCoy to come back at the next meeting with other options for the new map. July 21 is the deadline to submit the new map.
In other business, the court:
• Appointed Terry Crowley as the new chairman of the Economic Development Authority. Bottom explained that previous Chairman John Roush recently stepped down. Crowley is being jointly appointed by the county and Danville.
• Appointed Margaret Levi to the Boyle County Public Library board for a four year term.
• Appointed Ed Rall, Jo Marie Lammy and Mark Morgan to the Parks and Rec board. Bottom said all three are reappointments.
• The county was recently awarded a TAP grant for $170,000 to address water runoff from a roadway in Perryville that’s allowing water to damage the Merchants Row buildings. The court approved their contribution to the project of $42,645, and will allow the state to select an engineer for the project.
• The Boyle County Courthouse will soon have a guest WiFi network.