The League of Women Voters of the Tiffin Area strongly supports the levy for the Seneca County General Health District to be on the ballot Nov. 2.
Members of our community benefit from the services of the health district in many ways. These include: 1). inspection of restaurants and grocery stores to make sure the food is safe to consume; 2). immunizations for children and adults; 3). assisting families with children with special needs; 4). school nursing programs, and; 5). monitoring and inspecting landfills.
This is a small sampling of the valuable services that our health district provides.
The health department receives its revenue from a mix of dollars that include the local levy, state funds, District Advisory Council dollars, grant funds and fees. State funding, the local 0.3-mill levy and DAC funds provide only 21.8 percent of the department's income. The remaining dollars come from service fees, permits, contracts and grants. The 0.3-mill levy has been in place since 1960. State support and grant funds dramatically have decreased over the past two years.
It is important for citizens to know the levy will read "additional 0.5-mill levy." As noted above, currently we have a 0.3-mill levy. It will be an "additional" levy because the department is increasing from a 0.3-mill levy to a 0.5-mill levy to compensate for the loss of state and grant funds. The projected generated revenue from the 0.5 mill will total $501,023. By supporting this levy, the total cost to a voter with a $100,000 home will be $15.31 per year for the next five years.
At the same time, demand for health district services has increased at least 20 percent. The increase has been specifically noted in the number of immunizations given; more moms enrolling in the Women, Infants and Children clinics; more general health calls (I haven't seen my neighbor in several days, etc.); more nuisance complaints (many people living together, since more people can't afford rent); and more properties abandoned.
If the levy fails, fewer immunization clinics will be conducted; there will be fewer nuisance investigations and fewer general health investigations; and dental and adolescence clinics will be eliminated. With passage of the 0.5-mill levy, the current level of services will be maintained.
League support for the health department levy is based upon our county services, facilities and finance position. The league first studied county services in 1986 and has reviewed and kept members updated throughout the years. The current position was adopted in 2004. It states: "The County should not only provide fully mandated services, but also services for the health, safety, economic, and well-being of our citizens."
In summary, the League of Women Voters of the Tiffin Area strongly is in favor of the passage of the general health district levy. Without the levy, the department will have fewer staff members to provide services and respond to calls, and the response time will be slower. Public health services certainly are necessary for the health and well-being of our citizens. We believe that with decreased revenues and increased demand for services, the levy is needed. We feel that the income generated by this levy is essential to the health and well-being of all Seneca County residents and we urge you to vote "yes" on this levy.