Wayne County’s health officer hopes to alter the health department’s structure.

Dr. David Jetmore spoke to Wayne County Council members during a May 1 personnel committee meeting. He received council’s unanimous permission to have five job descriptions forwarded to consultant Waggoner Irwin Scheele & Associates in Muncie for analysis.

Jetmore proposes to eliminate the executive director position. Christine Stinson, who took that position during February 2020 as the health department and health clinic — now Well Care — split, took a leave and is not returning.

Jetmore wants to continue with Becca Alliston overseeing the health department’s clinical side and Dan Burk supervising the environmental side. An administrative assistant position would be created to assist with the management tasks. That would keep three positions at a savings of about $15,000, Jetmore said.

Health department growth forced the environmental staff members to move from the health department building at 100 S. Fifth St. across South A Street into space on the Wayne County Administration Building’s lower level. The environmental staff handles food, housing, lead, pools, septic, drinking well and animal issues.

Jetmore also requested creation of a jail navigator position to assist inmates with hepatitis C treatments, addiction treatment and connection with services. Sheriff Randy Retter originally proposed the position and asked it be funded by the county’s opioid settlement money.

The county receives $5,400 from Medicaid for each hepatitis C patient it treats, and Jetmore said that account contains about $800,000. The department is treating about 20 hepatitis C patients, who receive a three-month medication treatment.

Jetmore also asked that a current physician assistant position be upgraded because he plans to assign more tasks, such as hepatitis C treatments in the jail, to that position. Jetmore said an alarming number of the jail’s inmates — about 65% — have hepatitis C, according to recent testing.

Centerville library

Council members approved extending a Centerville-Center Township Public Library bond to provide $1,215,000 for a renovation and improvement project.

Library Director Curran Koehler discussed the project May 1. Renovations would address a changing library, with more patrons using library computers or accessing the library’s Wi-Fi. The project includes meeting rooms, Americans with Disabilities Act-compatible restrooms, exterior lighting and maintenance of the library’s historic building.

“We know exactly what we want to do,” Koehler said.

The plan does not raise the library system’s taxing rate and was formed using staff, community and board input. There were no comments during council’s public hearing.

Mobile homes

Assessor Tim Smith addressed council members about mobile home assessments and taxation.

A new state law enables counties to exempt mobile homes and manufactured homes from annual personal property tax assessments. Smith said the system already contains inequities because 968 mobile homes on real estate are assessed differently than 635 mobile homes in parks that are assessed as personal property.

Smith opposes exempting the personal property assessments as a fairness issue. Treasurer Nancy Funk has said the time and expense collecting the taxes barely makes the process worthwhile. Council member Gary Saunders said the county should consider engaging a collection agency to handle that workload.

Council took no action.

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A version of this article appeared in the May 8 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.