Barry Eaton District Health Department leaders adopted a 2017-2018 budget Thursday while unsure of the future of one of its regulations that affects both Barry and Eaton county residents.
With expected income of $6,613,816 and anticipated expenses of $6,613,816, this year’s budget is slightly leaner than last year.
“Today Barry and Eaton County leaders came together and adopted a balanced budget for the Health Department. It sure wasn’t easy, but we got the job done,” said chairman of the health board, Barry County Commissioner Ben Geiger.
A proposed six percent increase in environmental health services fees was reduced to three percent. In addition to public questioning of the increase, Geiger supported the rollback. “Back to back increases of six percent two years in a row is too tough on our constituents, so we cut it in half,” he said later.
Anticipated appropriation amounts from Eaton and Barry counties, a total $1.81 million, are not finalized since the commissioners have yet to set their budgets. The board went into a brief closed session to do with contract negotiations; wages were not discussed at the meeting because they are part of current negotiations.
The health department budget could be impacted by the results of two things already in motion. Because of the need to cut costs, Eaton County Commissioners will vote Sept 20 on whether to end its participation in TOST.
The regulation mandates on-site well and septic systems inspections and repair or replacement if needed, before the time of sale or transfer of property in both counties.
Also, Barry County commissioners are in the middle of a review of the 10-year-old regulation with the goal of improving the system based on responses from the public in a survey and a listening session. At the Tuesday listening session, 20 of the 25 speakers asked for TOST to be rescinded.