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Moses Lake decides against increasing health district contributions

by EMRY DINMAN
Staff Writer | November 17, 2020 1:00 AM

MOSES LAKE — Moses Lake will not be allocating additional tax dollars to the Grant County Health District, council members decided at last Tuesday’s council meeting.

The city currently provides funding to the health district equal to $2 per resident from already-collected tax dollars, said council member Don Myers in an interview. The money can be used for things like communicable disease response, unlike other funding.

“We felt the two dollars was enough and wanted to keep it at that level,” Myers said.

The health district does not have any dedicated funding source, relying instead on grant dollars that can only be used for very specific purposes and requesting that cities voluntarily pay into a fund that can be used more flexibly, said Health District Administrator Theresa Adkinson in an interview.

The agency also gets some funds from county, state and federal governments, Adkinson noted.

While federal dollars are funding the bulk of the district’s coronavirus response, they can’t be used for other programs, Adkinson said. Contributions from cities can be used to supplement the district’s communicable disease response capabilities and help the district respond to other emergent needs.

The district began asking cities to contribute $2 to that general fund in 2007, Adkinson said. Last year was the first in which all municipalities covered by the health district opted to pitch into the fund, and the first that Moses Lake opted to increase its contribution from $1 to the requested $2, she added.

Adkinson said the health district could make use of additional funds and she was grateful the district received any kind of funding from all of its municipalities, which not all health agencies can boast.

“I understand their position,” Adkinson said. “We’re fortunate to get the funding we do get from the cities.”