The state of Illinois' ongoing budget impasse is coming ever so close to home. The lack of a state budget and non-payment of reimbursements to agencies may force the closure of the Ford County Public Health Department.
Administrator Lana Sample informs the County Board there's already a hiring freeze, keeping two recent full-time vacancies open, and she's considering furloughs to limit paid work weeks to four and maybe three days.
Many health departments in Illinois are struggling financially as a result of no state budget. Among county health departments participating in a recent statewide survey, 36 percent said they had cut staff, office hours or programs as of the start of November.
Some health departments are suing the state to try to force the Legislature to appropriate funding on their behalf, and it appears the Illinois Public Health Association may join in that effort, too.
The Paxton Record reports, should the health department close, restaurant inspections would go away, there would be no well or septic inspections, and may senior citizen services and elder abuse programs would not be available. Several other health services would be hurt too.