Ottawa County’s Public Health funding remains a worry for many, and most people at Tuesday’s public hearing are attending in support of the health department.
Before approving the 2024 fiscal budget, commissioners have much to consider following the public hearing.
More than 100 healthcare providers signed a letter sharing the impact public health cuts will have on the county.
“I’m concerned that you’d be jeopardizing your tax base by jeopardizing the health care of our community,” Dr. Kurt Lindberg told Ottawa Commissioners.
The county’s budgeting process is in the final stretch.
“I would like you to severely think about your decision to defund the health department,” Dr. Michael Borenitsch said.
Recently, the hot topic is how to fund the county’s health department.
“I think if we want to make the health department better, and I think that’s what you want, you want to better health department. I don’t think the point is to defund them or take away their money,” Dr. Matt Olson said.
“Every time there’s a change of the guard, people are being replaced, new people are being brought in, budgets are reviewed. And I don’t understand the complaints or the fear associated with all these programs. I agree the Public Health Department is so important. But it’s also important to make sure that we’re using those funds for programs that have the most impact,” Kristen Meghan Kelly said.
At the meeting, Ottawa County Administrator John Gibbs explained to commissioners this proposed budget allocates more to public health than in 2019.
“The originally proposed FY24 Public Health budget, long before we took a deeper look at it at budget, would have been 26% higher than the current budget that is in front of us right now,” Gibbs said to the commissioners.
Under this new budget draft, the health