Salem Health District stays put

SALEM – The Salem City Health Department is staying in place for the foreseeable future, Mayor John Berlin said this week.

Berlin commented on the financial health of the department after the city health board he chairs approved the draft budget for next year, with figures well in the black.

“I’m very pleased that it’s showing a positive balance,” he said.

According to the draft budget being submitted to the city auditor, the department revenue is estimated at $99,492 with expenditures estimated at $86,507 and expected carryover from 2013 of $12,281.

The picture wasn’t quite so rosy going into 2013 when the auditor had projected a deficit. Cuts were made to reduce costs so the department could continue without asking for additional general fund money beyond the mandated per capita payment.

By law, the city must pay $3 per resident from the general fund toward health department operations, whether the city is providing the services or not, with the per capita payment totaling $36,909 or $3 for each of the 12,303 people reflected in the last census.

The majority of the department’s income comes from birth and death certificate receipts and food service license receipts.

Board members reviewed the figures on both the revenue side and the expenditure side with city Health Commission Richard Setty, who explained how he was adjusting some of the figures up and down based on experiences this year and what’s he’s expecting in some areas next year.

For example, he’s expecting an increase in the cost for the two health commissioner conferences he’s required to attend by the Ohio Department of Health. But he’s expecting to save money on advertising and legal ads by publishing at a different venue at a reduced cost. He’s expecting the phone bill to be less due to some changes made this year.

He also stood behind his figures which show an increase on the income side for next year.

“I think that’s appropriate. I think that’s conservative. I think that’s right on,” Setty said.

At the beginning of the meeting, he said they were seeing an upward trend in the number of birth certificates and death certificates issued.

He did caution the board, though, to keep in mind that they’ll have to start figuring out how to pay the accreditation fee they’ll be required to pay in the near future. The fee will total more than $12,000 every five years. Board member Judy Sicilia questioned whether they could start setting aside so much every year now in preparation for when it takes effect.

Board member William Wilkins asked if it could be paid on a yearly basis.

The requirement for accreditation doesn’t take effect for a few years, but they’re starting to plan now for meeting what will be required.