The Saginaw County Board of Commissioners has approved language proposing a public health millage on the November 3rd ballot.

It will ask voters to support 0.48 mills to provide necessary funding for the health department to continue to manage services provided in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and other mandated services to residents throughout the county.

These services include:

-investigating and managing other communicable diseases like hepatitis A and influenza;

-inspections to ensure safety at restaurants, tattoo parlors, spas, and salons;

-safe drinking water for rural residents using wells;

-safe water in pools and outdoor recreational swimming locations;

-hearing & vision screenings AND immunizations for school-age children throughout the county’s 14 school districts;

-laboratory services for drug screenings;

-and other services established to solve health disparity throughout the county.

The millage equates to $25 on a home annually valued at a total of $100,000.

Currently, the Saginaw county health department is funded with federal, state, and county dollars; much of which has been slashed year after year for the past two decades.

Saginaw county public health officer, Christina Harrington, says “Safeguarding our Saginaw communities from infectious diseases like COVID-19, hepatitis A, influenza and others is something we know people want from the Saginaw County Health Department,” and that “An investment of $25 annually for the average homeowner will keep us from cutting vital programs and services”

The millage will also help build capital for staff required for contact tracing during the pandemic, and better epidemiologic assessment to guide the department in combating the spread of COVID-19.

The approved language of the proposal states:

“For the purpose of reinforcing public health infrastructure and restoring capacity; to ensure adequate staffing, data analysis and reporting, critical technology needs, broader capacity to provide direct services, adequate facilities, resource readiness for emergencies, and continued communication with health partners, county leaders, and the public, shall the County of Saginaw increase in the limitation of the total amount of general ad-valorem taxes which may be imposed for all purposes upon all taxable real and personal property in Saginaw County, as authorized by Article 9, Section 6 of the Michigan Constitution of 1963, as amended, and levy up to .48 Mill ($0.48 per $1,000) of taxable valuation on such property as finally equalized during the years 2020 – 2029, both inclusive, which if approved and levied in its entirety is estimated to raise $2,435,478 in the first year.”