Mills County Public Health Likely To Be Funded In FY25

The Mills County Public Health Office will receive the necessary funding to stay operational for at least another year according to two members of the Mills County Board of Supervisors.

Although the three-member board has yet to formally finalize its 2024-25 fiscal year budget, Lonnie Mayberry and Richard Crouch said Mills County Public Health will receive the dollars needed to operate during the FY25 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

“We’re going to fund them,” Mayberry said. “They came to us and said they would need around $500,000 to operate for the next year and at least two of us have agreed to do that.”

The budget initially proposed by the county allocated $155,000 for MCPH next year, down from $612,542 in the current fiscal year. At last week’s regular supervisors meeting, the board room was filled with supporters of the public health office and the services it provides. Retired Mills County Public Health Administrator Sheri Bowen shared a breakdown of numbers at that meeting and voiced concerns about services that would be lost if the county were cut the budget to $155,000, including home healthcare and family-centered services. Bowen said she believes MCPH can remain sustainable with $500,000 of county funding for FY25.

Crouch said the final budget numbers for Public Health and other county departments are still being finalized, but MCPH will get funded.

“Somehow, we’ll work this out,” he said. “It’s going to work but it’s going to take some time.”

The lone supervisor who was non-committal on funding for MCPH on Monday was Carol Vinton, noting the board hasn’t formally finalized its budget, yet.

“We haven’t had a vote.,” she said. “We haven’t made a definite decision, yet.”

The supervisors’ comments were made after a second public hearing concerning the county’s FY25 budget. At a previous hearing on April 1, the supervisors heard from several residents voicing opposition to an initially budget proposal that called for an increase in tax dollar asking of nearly $1 million.

The proposed budget was revised after the April 1 meeting. Crouch said the revised budget being proposed is $489,758 higher than the budget for the current 2023-24 fiscal year.

“The board took very seriously what was brought to us. We went back and started working the budget and the revenues,” he said. “We looked at probably six or seven budgets. We took some (dollars) out, we moved some around. Right now, we’re going to be asking for just about 1 percent over last year’s budget.”

Mayberry noted that a significant increase in the cost of liability insurance is impacting the budget heavily.

“Our budget’s going to go up just under $500,000. That’s what’s proposed right now  - $400,000 of that is our liability insurance alone.”

The public hearings are part of the budget process. Once the final numbers are agreed upon, another public hearing will be held before the budget is certified with the state. That hearing will likely take place April 30, Mills County Auditor Ami Petersen said.


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