At a time when Americans are increasingly concerned about both their finances and their health, county officials are trying to do the most they can with government grants that help keep county health programs running, Barton County Health Department Director Lily Akings explained at this week’s county commission meeting.
However, this is also a time when all levels of government are looking for ways to cut and so the county officials are also aware that some of the grant money may not be coming through this year.
Akings told the commissioners that grants make up a large part of the cost of its annual projects.
Because of the grant funding, she said, these programs can save the community as much as they cost.
Grants that are being applied for this year include:
• State Formula — $19,299
• Child Care Licensing — $30,245
• Chronic Disease Risk Reduction — $49,045
• Family Planning — $61,205
• Immunization Action Plan — $5,418
• Maternal and Child Health — $61,467
The total for those grant applications is $ 226,679. The commission approved applying for those grants.
Commissioner John Edmonds said it appears clear that state officials are cutting spending this year and he asked Akings if there is a contingency in place, “in case the state doesn’t come through.”
Akings said she and the Health Department staff have been discussing that possibility. “It’s a worry for us as well.”
She noted the grants have been depended on for some time to continue public health programs. “They’ve been fairly stable across the span of years, we’ve been applying for them,” she added.
If the funding is cut, Akings suggested, then plans will have to be reconsidered and she will have to return to the commission to discuss the implication.