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|Health Departments Continue Cuts Due to State Budget
|County public health departments continue to make cuts because state payments are late. The newest rounds come in Vermillion County and in the Southern Seven Public Health Department, which serves Alexander, Hardin, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski and Union counties.
The Vermillion County Health Department this week received approval from that county's board to borrow money as part of a "rescue" move to keep the agency open. It's owed more than $600,000 by the state. Over the last several months, cuts include:
* Eliminating the staff number by half over the last year (from 73 to 31)
* 20 percent pay cuts for remaining workers
* Asking the county board to approve a four-day work week
In the Southern Seven, executive director of public health Nancy Holt says the state owes her agency around $375,000. Because of that, she's planning to ask her county board if she can close the early childhood program that helps 60 youngsters, and costs $160,000 that so far hasn't shows up from state government. Recent cuts include:
* Closing the HealthWorks program, which serves children in the care of the Department of Children and Family Services
* Two temporary layoffs (in January 2009 and in August 2009)
* A hiring freeze that left 11 of 50 positions vacant.
In Rock Island County, cuts could be coming. Public health assistant administrator Theresa Foes says the state owes her agency $1.1 million. She says the local tax base has helped the agency stay afloat. Cuts so far include:
* A hiring freeze for more than a year (6 of 70 positions vacant)
* Increased service fees
* Delayed payments to vendors
* Limited travel.
Each administrator says more cuts will come if the state budget for next year either lengthens the payment cycle, which is likely, or includes cuts for grants. Lawmakers have not yet scheduled a return to the Capitol to continue work on the budget.
(Illinois Radio Network)
|05 13 10 by Newsroom
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