BOONE COUNTY (WIFR) – The fate of the Boone County Health Department is unclear tonight as some county board members want to shut it down. It’s a decision that could leave more than 50,000 people to travel somewhere else for their health needs.
It’s a decision administrator Cynthia Frank says wouldn’t be the healthiest. She says shutting down the Boone County Health Department could be devastating to the community.
“It’s just a scary thought. If there’s no health department and nobody monitoring what’s going on, I’d be concerned about even restaurants,” Frank said.
Marion Thornberry (County Board, District 3) says he and others on the board want to get rid of the department and claim there’s a lack of transparency among other issues.
Thornberry says administrators are enforcing unnecessary food regulations during the county fair and farmers markets, that aren’t required by the state.
“There’s too many stipulations, regulations, even though the Illinois Health Board doesn’t have them, just Boon County Health Board telling people that they can and can’t do stuff which is false,” Thornberry said. “We do consult with the board about our codes that affect the environmental health department like the food codes and that is one of their concerns.”
Thornberry is proposing a tri-county health board, where other area health departments would monitor things like viruses, vaccinations, and well water systems in Boone County.
“If there’s an emergency, a different county is going to focus on their county first, so it really puts Boone County at risk.”
The final decision is up to the board.
The Boone County Board will discuss closing the health department during their meeting tonight at 6:30 at the administration building on Logan Avenue. Closing the health department is only being talked about right now, however if they vote to close it, and adopt a tri-county health board, current workers would be hired to help with that.