Jackson Co. Health Dept. to downsize agency

MURPHYSBORO, IL (KFVS) - Thursday, May 18 marked another day closer to the deadline for decisions in Springfield, Illinois.

As we get closer to a budget, agencies in the Heartland have to make tough decisions. As of May 2016, Thursday is the last day of the work week for the employees at Jackson County Health Department, this due to lack of state funding.

Miriam Link Mullison, the Director of Jackson County Health Department, said they need to downsize because of their reliance on that state funding.

One-half of her budget at Jackson County Health comes from the state. Which in turns means no service to patients on Fridays since reducing the work week and extending the hours on other days.

The agency even had to cut salaries, the employees took an 8.6 percent decrease in their pocketbook.

Mullison wondered about the certainty of the future of the agency.

"Without the state passing a budget and with over half our budget coming from the state funding and with...it's not even just not getting the money but the payments are slow and we have no certainty where we are moving forward to ...it just makes it very difficult to reverse these decisions," Mullison said.

Due to the six-month spending plan put in place last year, Mullison said they are getting paid, just really slow. The agency requested state funding from the comptroller since January, but the process is really slow and could take at least seven to eight months to receive the reimbursements or grants.

However, the agency has not received the Local Health Protection Grant.

This grant is what covers restaurant inspections, disease follow-up, etc. Even though those grant funds are not available, the agency is still working to provide those services.

Mullison is monitoring the agency's cash flow and still providing most services.

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