Wednesday May 20 will be the next Benton Franklin Health Department board meeting and Clint Didier has some questions.

Didier is considering calling for a hiring freeze for the Benton Franklin Health District, concerned about salary costs rising about $40,000 a month. Didier is one of the members of the health district board, which consists of the six commissioners from Benton and Franklin Counties. He's from Franklin County.

At earlier meetings, Didier expressed concern that Health District costs are rising due to COVID-19, and with falling tax and state revenues from business shutdowns, counties are looking like they have to foot the bill. Didier says COVID costs could add up to $3 million to the Health District budget.

He is also concerned the district also has a large backlog for septic system and other inspections from the resumption of construction, as builders try to catch up. He is concerned resources normally devoted to such activities are being used for  COVID efforts.

County Health officials say jobsite inspections and 'enforcement' of COVID mandates are done by state workers, not county health.

He is also concerned that it's possible that workers who normally do such inspections and other duties might instead wind up as contact tracing workers, as part of Gov. Inslee's desired program for COVID.

The County Health Board meeting will be at 1:30PM Wednesday. For more information on the meeting, which will be on the internet, click on the button below.

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