Clark County Combined Health District replacement levy slated for November ballot

Levy funding would go toward general programming, which includes district’s nursing and environmental initiatives.

Clark County voters will decide on a one-mill health district levy this fall.

According to the Clark County Auditor’s Office, the five-year replacement levy is expected to generate $2,533,239 if passed, and the levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $35 per year. Replacements for the five-year levy have been on the county’s ballot upon their expiration for the last 20 years.

The levy makes up a sizable portion of the health district’s annual budget, which totals $7 million, said Clark County Combined Health District health commissioner Charles Patterson.

Roughly 30% of the district’s funding results from the levy it requests every five years, with another 30% resulting from user fees and 40% coming from grant funding. The levy funding is often used to leverage grant funding, and the health district reports that for every $1 it receives, it generates almost $3 in additional funding to match it, Patterson said.

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Levy funding goes toward the district’s general programming, which includes its nursing and environmental initiatives.

Patterson said that much of what a health district does is provide services to assist a person from “cradle to grave” or even “prenatal to grave.” For example, the district features a WIC program, which is nutrition-based and assists families with ensuring their children have access to healthful foods. In addition, tax dollars are used for the district’s early childhood programming, working with families who have at-risk children to ensure proper development.

The health district, which has a staff of roughly 15 nurses, also offers screening for communicable diseases. Clark County is currently experiencing a countywide outbreak of syphilis, for example, with roughly 70 cases reported this year.

The proposed levy replacement also falls during a pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 300 Clark County residents. The health district has monitored cases of the virus since March of 2020 and has coordinated vaccination efforts locally. Recently, the health district opened a new vaccine location in preparation for the authorization of “booster” doses of the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

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The health commissioner told the News-Sun that although the district did miss out on revenue opportunities as a result of the pandemic, COVID-19 didn’t necessarily create budgetary woes for the department, as an influx of federal and state funding was allotted to CCCHD for its COVID-19 response. In addition, Clark County and Springfield CARES Act funding was funneled to the health district, Patterson said.

“COVID-19 has shown us all how important it is to have a health department,” Patterson said.

The general election is slated for Nov. 2.

By the numbers

$2.5M: Approximate amount of money replacement levy will generate

5: Number of years the levy will cover

$35: Amount levy will cost owner of a $100,000 home

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