County board of health OKs mutual aid pact

LISBON – The Columbiana County Board of Health has put its stamp of approval on a mutual aid agreement between 21 health agencies in Northeast Central Ohio.

The agreement allows agencies in the area to assist in the event of a public health crisis, especially if the crisis is large or the resources too little for one agency to handle the situation.

Emergency Preparedness Director Robert Zehentbauer told board members Wednesday the agreement does not create liability for the health department. The agreement notes no party providing aid as part of the agreement will be liable as a result of their actions or an omission made in good faith to fulfill the terms of the agreement.

Although there are a few exceptions to that liability issue, county Health Commissioner Wesley Vins assured board member Shawn Apple there are no surprises in the agreement, which has been examined and reworded several times by law directors for different groups involved.

“There’s probably been more attorneys on this than the Health Care Reform Act,” Vins quipped.

Others involved in the agreement include the Salem, East Liverpool and Alliance health Departments as well as health departments in the surrounding counties of Stark, Mahoning and Carroll.

In other matters:

– Renovations are nearing completion in the cancer clinic at the county health department. Rooms are being remodeled with new floors, paint and toilets; heat has been added to the examining room and some of the furniture is being revamped.

The board accepted a $1,000 donation for the cancer detection clinic from the Lions Club. Vins said the health department is grateful for their partnership with the Lion’s Club.

– The board approved a variance with a condition for Terry Melott, Hull Road, Salineville, who recently installed a new septic system at a trailer on Highland Avenue, Rogers, without going through the steps to get the permit, Environmental Division Director Lori Barnes pointed out. The septic system reportedly has only 160 feet of lines and the board requested he put in another 100 feet to receive the variance.

– The board approved additional variances for Sandra Yost of Westville Lake and Robert Lanza of McCann Road, Kensington, both of whom made or are making improvements to their systems. Yost needed a variance because of the small size of the lot at the lake, while Lanza’s septic tank did not meet the 10-foot distance requirement to the porch.