Tight budget puts strain on health district’s business hours

Monthly office closures implemented.

Now through the remainder of 2009, the Kitsap County Health District will close one day each month due to a shortfall in revenues caused by current economic conditions.

This will save the district approximately $150,000 and will help it meet its financial obligations through the end of the year. The closure days were negotiated with the district’s union — International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, AFL-CIO, Local 17 — and will affect both union and non-union staff.

The District will close its main offices on the following days in 2009 and all affected employees will be required to take unpaid leave (furloughs):

Monday, Aug. 17; Friday, Sept. 4; Monday, Oct. 12; Wednesday Nov. 25; and Thursday, Dec. 24.

Factors that have contributed to the shortfall include less-than-anticipated Environmental Health Division permit fee revenues, higher-than-anticipated draws from district reserves and a lack of certainty about future revenues.

If finances improve later this year, the district may cancel any remaining mandated furloughs in 2009.

Depending on the district’s cash situation later this year, additional furloughs may be proposed for 2010. Office hours of 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday will remain in effect on non-closure days.

Additionally, the district’s 24/7 Regional Duty Officer System will enable the district to respond to any public health emergencies on office closure days or anytime after hours.

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