Health department measure passed by voters


The people have approved a renewal for the Union County Health Department (UCHD).
According to unofficial results from the Union County Board of Elections, the department’s 10-year 0.75-mill levy with a 0.15-mill increase, received 13,406 votes in support with 9,800 votes against. With the approval, the owner of a $100,000 home will pay an additional $23.51 per year.
Health Commissioner Jason Orcena said the department is grateful to the voters for allowing it to continue current projects with this levy renewal.
“This wasn’t to expand out services, it was to continue the current level of service we’re providing and the current activities,” Orcena said. “We really will keep moving forward with those programs we’re engaged in.”
Orcena said this renewal was made possible by community and partners, such as Memorial Hospital and the Mental Health and Recovery Board, helping to promote the UCHD.
He said the department is also involved with many business leaders and members of the community to see what they want out of the UCHD.
“Without our partners, we would not be successful, and I think that helps translate to voters,” Orcena said.
The health commissioner said the UCHD has been successful in its last three levy proposals, but that doesn’t mean the department should take that approval for granted. He said a lot of goodwill and trust must be established with the community, and that exists in the county.
“There’s a lot of trust that comes from voters when they support a levy, and you have to value that trust and show the results to the community and you can never take it for granted.” Orcena said.
He noted there were still people who were against the levy. He invited those who disagree with the levy to talk to the department about where they think it should be “improving the quality of its services.”
“We have a number of forums we engage the community with,” Orcena said. “We want to encourage folks to give that feedback and participate in those fact-finding coalition community outreach efforts so we do get that feedback information.”
Orcena said the UCHD will return in 2022 to renew its 0.5-mill levy.

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