Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1103176

Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 18, 2014

Board of Health looking for a building to house the public health department

By Xiomara Levsen | Jan 16, 2014

The Washington County Board of Health met in a regular meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 15. During the meeting they discussed the options for a new location for the Washington County Public Health Department.

Danielle Pettit-Majewski, administrator for the Washington County Public Health Department, said she had spoken with Washington city administrator Brent Hinson about the issues with the odor at the former public library recently.

“He did say that their plan for the next two to three years with the old library is to either sell the old library or renovate it for their use,” Pettit-Majewski said, “so because of that we have started the conversation again of looking for a home for public health.”

A timeline of when the WIC clinic would need to be out of the former public library hasn’t been set by the city yet, Pettit-Majewski said.

She is going to discuss things further with Hinson next week about this.

The board of health also invited Dennis Hunger, CEO of the Washington County Hospitals and Clinics, to the meeting to explain why having the public health department located at the hospital wasn’t viable, Pettit-Majewski said.

“He declined that offer,” she said, “but shared with me that currently he’s getting reimbursed $27 per square foot of that space, to get a lease it would only be $13 per square foot, which would give him a loss of $140,000 [per year].”

She has a meeting scheduled with Hunger next week to get further information from him.

Washington County Board of Health member Ron Bennett said before Hunger came the public health department had plans drawn up for the former family medical practice clinic. However, things didn’t work out.

Bennett asked the board if there would be a possibility of approaching the hospital to buy the old clinic.

“I would think there would be if they would just lob out that piece of the pie and sell that piece of the pie,” said Washington County Board of Health chairman Dr. Lloyd Holm.

To his knowledge no one has approached the hospital, under the current hospital board, with that option, Holm said. Pettit-Majewski said she could ask Hunger about this.

Board member Chris Grier asked if the space was currently being used and Holm said no.

Hunger suggested to Pettit-Majewski the possibility of the nursing home building across the street from the hospital, which is going through bankruptcy. They wouldn’t need to use the whole building, but some of the space could be made viable as a location for the public health department.

Other topics discussed at the meeting included:

• an update on the Richmond and Rubio sewer projects progress. Jennine Wolf, environmental health director, said she has a meeting with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources on Jan. 21. On Jan. 22, she has a meeting scheduled with some homeowners who are still trying to find funding to put their septic systems in;

• changed the meetings to every third Thursday of the month at noon because of a scheduling conflict;

• approved a contract with The Family Connection;

• and discussed having a special session to go over their budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

The Washington County Board of Health will hold its next meeting on Monday, Jan. 20, at 12 p.m. This is a special session.

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