The Bell County Fiscal Court met Thursday to issue the independent Bell County Health Department a financial note. A note is a certificate issued by a corporation or government stating the amount of a loan, the interest to be paid and the collateral pledged in the event that the payment cannot be made.
The amount that will be issued is approximately $500,000, according to Bell County Judge-Executive Albey Brock.
Initially, the Kentucky Association of Counties (KACO) said that a lease was needed to issue the loan. After speaking with different banks, KACO decided that a note was needed instead of a lease.
The local health board met on Wednesday to pass a different resolution to ask the fiscal court for the money. During the meeting Thursday, the fiscal court passed the resolution. The fiscal court will receive the money for the health department from KACO, which will receive the money from the bank.
According to Brock, the health department budget looks good. It is projected that the department will be able to pay back at least half the loan in one year.
The Bell County Health Board voted to pull out of the Cumberland Valley Health District (CVHD) nearly two months ago. Medicaid and medicare cuts at the state level and financial hardship put Bell County in a situation where it had to assess whether or not it was best for the local health department and public health services to be in the district or become independent.
Another reason for the assessment was because of a budget shortfall at the CVHD level in the form of $2.8 million.
Ken Fizer did a feasibility study that focused to determine if the health department could survive as a stand alone department. The study did show the department would be able to retain and maintain the employees and the level of service if they left the district.
Bell County was the highest performing county in the CVHD, according to Brock.
Anthony Cloud is a staff writer for the Middlesboro Daily News. He can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.