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Price Tag For County Health Department Services To Rise $37,000 Over Next Three Years

Cynthia Voorhees1

Cynthia Voorhees, chair of the township’s Health Advisory Committee, said the committee is in need of members.

The cost of having Somerset County act as the township’s health department will increase more than $37,000 over the next three years.

The department’s 2013 annual report and new three-year contract was presented to the Township Council at its Aug. 12 meeting. The council acts as the township’s Board of Health.

The township will p[ay $604,682 for the county’s services for 2014, according to a memo from Township Clerk Ann Marie McCarthy to the council. That was more than $12,000 more than the 2013 figure.

The council is being asked to approve a 3-year contract for 2015 through 2017 which would set the county’s fee at $616,775.64 for the first year, $629,111,16 for the second year and $641,693.39 for the final year.

In 2010, the first full year the township contracted with the county, the fee was $553,355.

The county performs services such as retail food establishment inspections, hotel/motel inspections, adult chronic disease screening and various health-related educational programs, among many others.

In 2013, the department handled 527 complaints, resulting in 249 enforcement actions generating more than $20,000 in fines, according to the department’s annual report.

The department conducted 534 inspections of retail food establishments, 24 inspections of child care centers and responded to 513 health nuisance complaints, according to the report.

The township dissolved its health department in 2009. Township Councilman Philip Kramer (D-Ward 3), said the cost of reestablishing the department within the township would be prohibitive.

Cynthia Voorhees, chair of the township’s Health Advisory Committee, asked the council to fill the committee’s four open positions.

Two people who had spotty attendance said they were not interested in continuing on the committee, and two other members moved out of town, she said.

“The three of us who are left have been trying to drum up the troops,” she said. “We’ll try again in the fall.”

She asked council members if they could “come up with any high-quality members.”

Councilman Rajiv Prasad (D-At Large) said that he knows of two people who may be interested.

The council has until October to ratify the contract.

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