Belmont County health board tackles grant questions

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The Belmont County Board of Health addressed funding questions and building concerns when members met Monday afternoon at the Emergency Management Agency building.

Deputy Health Commissioner Robert Sproul said he will speak with Belmont County Auditor Cindi Henry about transferring unused funds from a now-discontinued Personal Responsibility Education Program grant. Sproul said the state is permitting the health department to keep the remainder of the money, but Henry is holding off transferring the funds.

“Once the grant goes away, we have to move it to a county fund because that grant is no longer being offered in the county,” Sproul said, adding the funds originally were used for the health department to perform educational outreach at juvenile detention centers. “Since they stopped the grant, that money stays with the county.”

Sproul said the money could be used for any program to benefit the county, possibly with more outreach programs.

“We’ll talk with (Henry) about what her concerns are and what she needs to do with transferring funds,” Sproul said during the meeting, adding he also wil consult the county prosecutor for legal advice on the process.

Afterward, Henry said the funds total $65,977.06.

“This grant ended in 2019 and was not renewed,” Henry said. “Most of the funds that are housed here, you can’t move money from one fund to the next because statute doesn’t allow you to do that. … (The health department) has got to deliver something to me, telling me the state has approved this.”

Meanwhile, the state of the health department building has been an ongoing concern, with board members saying the size of the facility and parking are inadequate and pointing out issues with the plumbing and roof.

Sproul said the Belmont County Board of Commissioners approved paving the parking lot for $27,246.56.

“Our doors in the back are still causing issues,” Sproul said, noting the keys have not been working and they are not closing properly. The issue has been ongoing for about two months. “New doors and locks. … That’s the bad thing. We ask for stuff, it’s put in halfway.”

He also looks forward to speaking with the county commissioners regarding a new building in the future.

“We have some ideas on the square footage,” he said.

“We need to physically get the commissioners to come out to the building,” board member Joel Braido said. “We’re going to look at these doors. … We’re going to look at that parking lot.”

As of June, the department has administered 19,507 COVID-19 vaccinations, according to Nursing Director Linda Mehl.

“It’s really slowing down,” Mehl said.

Sproul said vaccination clinics are being offered Thursdays and Fridays at the health board office, 68501 Bannock-Uniontown Road, St. Clairsville. Call 740-695-1202 to schedule an appointment. Other venues are being considered.

The board will next meet at noon Aug. 9 at the EMA building, 68329 Bannock-Uniontown Road.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *


Starting at $4.73/week.

Subscribe Today