Pulaski County Health Department to Add Employee, Update Equipment with Grant Funds

The Pulaski County Health Department will be getting a new part-time employee, after a release of funding by the state.

Office Manager Terri Hansen told the county council Monday that the Indiana State Department of Health opened the portal that holds all of the leftover grant money. “We had $94,000 in leftover money from the last 20 years,” she explained.

Council members agreed to let her add a new part-time position using some of that funding, with the understanding that if the grant goes away, so does the position. Hansen said the new employee would help with environmental complaints, food inspections, preparedness work, and other tasks in the Health Department. “This is 14 hours a week,” she said. “I’ve got to have some help, especially now that the building inspector has no help, I no longer have that help, either. She was helping me. I don’t want to work nights and weekends doing food inspections, and I need help.”

In addition to wages for the new employee, Hansen also plans to use the grant funding to replace the phone system that’s no longer working, purchase new Microsoft Surface Pro devices along with other various equipment, and increase the department’s community Narcan training efforts.

In all, Hansen plans to spend $39,500 out of the grant this year. She was under the impression that since it comes from the state, she didn’t need any approval from the county council. But some council members and Auditor Laura Wheeler felt that an additional appropriation should be made, since the money wasn’t included in this year’s budget. Additionally, Council Member Rudy DeSabatine felt the Health Department should just spend $15,000 to $20,000 of the grant funding this year.

In the end, the county council voted five-to-two to advertise an additional appropriation request for $39,500, with DeSabatine and Jay Sullivan opposing.