County proposes shared services for Mt. Sterling

(Posted Nov. 1, 2018)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The village of Mount Sterling is in fiscal emergency, and county leaders are looking at ways to lend a hand by providing services at reduced costs.

Rob Slane, Madison County administrator, is proposing that the county take over billing for Mount Sterling’s water and sewer department. The county runs the same software for billing as does the village. Mount Sterling could save $25,000 to $30,000 a year in licensing fees and staffing costs if the county handled the work, Slane said.

He emphasized that the county would not be involved in decision-making for the department or the village. The agreement would be strictly for billing services. The village would maintain a local drop-off site for payments, and all water and sewer concerns and questions would be directed to the village.

Slane also is proposing that the county’s water and sewer district purchase a biosolids tanker so that the county can do its own hauling of sludge, rather than contract out the work. The county could then offer that service to Mount Sterling, which also contracts out the work at this time. The county could do the hauling for $6,000 less per year than Mount Sterling is paying now for the service.

“Anything we can do to help out Mount Sterling,” Slane said at the Oct. 30 county commissioners meeting.

To go in-house with the work, the county also would need a tractor to pull the tanker and a staffer to do the driving. Slane is talking to the county engineer’s office about supplying the tractor and driver. If the plan moves forward, the tanker purchase would be part of the water and sewer district’s budget for 2019. The district is looking at buying a used tanker for $20,000, Slane said.

County investments

On a quarterly basis, Donna Landis, county treasurer, updates the commissioners on the county’s investments. All totaled, the county has $22.2 million invested in money market accounts and bonds. All but $2 million is invested in a money market account collecting 1.7 percent interest. Landis said that account is “doing very well,” bringing in $86,000 in interest just since July.

Breast Cancer Awareness

The commissioners signed a proclamation recognizing October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Chris Cook, county health commissioner, reported that 49 new cases of breast cancer are reported in Madison County each year, a number in line with the state average. He also reported that 13 deaths are attributed to breast cancer in the county each year, as compared to 10 per year in other Ohio communities of similar size and demographics.

Cook said 75 percent of local women who are age 50 or older get mammograms. He’d like to see that statistic go to 100 percent and start with women who are 45 years old.

“Early detection is key,” he said.

Joel Rice, a nurse practitioner in Madison Health’s oncology department, said the county has made great strides in promoting breast cancer awareness in the county. The number of women getting screenings for breast cancer has gone up significantly, he said.

The hospital is finishing up an expansion project that includes a new space for the oncology department. Located on the expansion’s second floor, the department will be staffed by an oncologist and a nurse practitioner and include eight treatment chairs and two beds. The full-time clinic is affiliated with the James Cancer Hospital.

Additionally, Madison Health offers a cancer support group on the fourth Thursday of the month and a breast cancer support group on the third Thursday of the month. Both take place from 5 to 6 p.m. in the Park Avenue Medical Center, next to the hospital.

Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick
Promoting Breast Cancer Awareness are: (front row, from left) Susan Young, director of nursing at Madison County Public Health; Chris Cook, county health commissioner; Leanne Manring, director of oncology at Madison Health; Joel Rice, nurse practitioner in the hospital’s oncology department; (back row) Madison County commissioners David Dhume, Mark Forrest and David Hunter; and Rob Slane, county administrator.
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