The Larimer County Board of Health convened its regular meeting at 7:00 PM at the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, 1525 Blue Spruce Drive, Fort Collins, CO.
MEMBERS PRESENT: Lee Thielen, M.P.A.
Teri Olson, R.N., M.S.N.
Blair Trautwein, J.D.
Mark Richards, M.D., M.P.H.
Adrienne LeBailly, MD, MPH - Exec. Secretary
OTHERS PRESENT: Marie Macpherson, Bruce Peters, Jerry Blehm, Avie Strand, and Amy Smith.
1. Call to Order
Meeting was called to order at 7:04 P.M.
2. Approval of the Minutes of July 12, 2007
Minutes of July 12, 2007 were unanimously approved.
3. Budget presentation – revised 2007 and proposed 2008 budget – Ms. Macpherson and Dr. LeBailly
Marie Macpherson presented the budget to the members of the Board and explained the track record of the Health Department regarding use of fund balance in the past She distributed a copy of the budget documents. The 2007 and 2008 budgets require a fairly substantial use of fund balance reserves to balance. There was some discussion of the rising cost of employee insurance benefits. Ms. Macpherson indicated that she would do one more thorough review of revenues, and put in increases wherever feasible. This will change the bottom line numbers. After this revision, a final document will be e-mailed to the Board. Lee Thielen stated if the Board voted to approve the budget as is, it would be going against the Board’s own policy to have a minimum of ten percent of the total budget in reserves.
There was discussion whether or not to make changes in the budget before the end of August in order to balance and remain in compliance with the ten percent guidelines. Ms. Macpherson indicated the Department wanted to be able to take the time to have a good process to look at prioritization of services, as well as increasing revenues in order to have a plan for less use of reserve funds in 2008. It was decided to go ahead and allow the budget to be submitted as is, and the department was given direction to begin this review in the next three months.
Motion was made to approve the budget draft to be submitted to the County at this time with direction to the Department to come up with a plan for reduced reserves use, so that in 2008 the Department remains in the ten percent reserves guideline. Motion was unanimously approved.
The Board would like to have reports on revenue and cost trends on a monthly basis, so that the reserve use can be monitored.
4. Challenges of relocation Loveland Health Department services - Dr. LeBailly
The Health Department, Human Services Department and Clerk and Recorder/Motor Vehicles Offices moved into the current Loveland facility 20 years ago, a building that previously housed the city library. A new Loveland building for the county offices was planned for construction in 2005-2006. However, because of soaring building costs after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the money set aside for building construction was inadequate and the County did not move forward with building a new facility. Renovations and upgrades for the three departments to stay in the current county building long-term are estimated to cost $2 million dollars—more than the current value of the building—and with limited space and no room for growth. For this reason, the county manager has recommended that the Loveland building be vacated and the affected departments look at renting space elsewhere until some future time when county voters would approve funding to complete the previously planned construction.
The Health Department does not pay rent for the space in the Loveland building, so there are no funds available to divert to pay rent elsewhere. The Health Department could divert money from staff to pay rent, but that would leave a building but no staff, or we could retain the employees and not have a building from which to provide services in Loveland. Lee Thielen asked if it would be worth having a discussion with hospital administrators regarding our space issues and requested to be kept informed.
[Update: Since the Board of Health Meeting, the decision was made to allow the departments to stay in the current Loveland building for the near future, understanding that neither heating nor air conditioning is likely to be ideal, and that a major failure could lead to the building closing with little or no notice.]
5. Director’s Report
Dr. LeBailly updated the Board of Health on the 38 cases of West Nile that are confirmed or under investigation so far this summer in Larimer County, and compared the number of cases to those that had been reported at the same time in 2003. A reasonable estimate of cases that will be reported by the end of 2007 would be around 110 cases, compared to 546 cases in 2003. Dr. LeBailly distributed a map showing the locations of positive and negative mosquito traps for the prior week. She has been talking to the city of Fort Collins, requesting they spray one last time in certain areas. Both the city and the Health Department have received phone calls both from people with concerns of being sensitive to the spraying and from people wanting spraying done in areas that have not been sprayed.
The BOH was updated on the progress of the “What If, Colorado” campaign to promote household preparedness for all types of emergencies, with a focus on pandemic flu.
BOH was reminded of the importance of the high ranking given by the
Commissioners which will help reduce the cuts that will need to be made to
bring the budget into compliance with the fund balance expectations. The
members of the Board agreed it would be appropriate to thank the Commissioners
for the priority given to the Department's core public health services in the
allocation of County resources for the 2008 budget. Lee Thielen and Dr.
LeBailly will draft a letter.
6. Proposed Date of next meeting will be October, 11 2007
7. Meeting was adjourned at 8:58 PM
Amy Smith, Recording Secretary Adrienne LeBailly, MD, Executive Secretary