The Richmond County Board of Health may be in favor of a tax increase on tobacco.
“Being a non-smoker, I would have to ask if tobacco use is a health hazard,” said Abbie Covington Richmond County Board of Health member. “And if I answer that it is, I would have to say that it is my responsibility as a board of health member to do what I can to effectively reduce the risk imposed by this health issue.”
Richmond County Board of Health Director Dr. Tommy Jarrell gave the members a choice on whether or not they wanted to go on record with their position on the increase.
“What I anticipate will happen, is when the North Carolina General Assembly goes back into session in January, someone will probably introduce a tax increase on tobacco,” he said.
He says that he doesn’t know if this will happen for sure, but the board seemed to be in agree on this issue.
In other matters:
n According to the Richmond County Health Department 2009-2010 annual report there were 412 individuals born in 2009 and the exact same number of individuals died.
“I don’t know if it was a typo but it ended up being the exact same number,” Jarrell said.
n With the 2009-2010 budget, the department was able to stay under the budget that was allotted to them, which was $4,448,863. The total amount spent was $4,072,323.26.
“We are trying to be responsible with the funding that we receive,” Jarrell said. “We were able to not spend six percent of county money.”
For the entire budget, the department was able to stay nine and a half percent under the total amount.
n The social work department was in charge of the Community Alternative Program. This program is designed to keep individuals out of nursing homes and in their own home. But, there were still 113 people on the waiting list at the end of the year.
“Those 113 families need help, and its just going to take some time to get to them,” Jarrell said.
n The eleventh Golden “A” Awards recognized 63 establishment in Richmond County.
“That is our largest number to date,” Jarrell said.
The total number of grade “A’s” that were received by restaurants were 99.7 percent and only one business that received a “B.”
n The board also has came out with its 2010-2014 strategic plan. The number one goal is to get citizens more prepared when it comes to taking care of themselves in a disaster.
“It was obvious from that assessment that some of our citizens don’t know how to take care of themselves in the event of an emergency,” Jarrell said. “We, as a county, need to do more to help our citizens become more prepared.”
He went on to say that another goal that they had is to record educational videos that will be able to be viewed on the educational and governmental channel, which is 16.
n The board discussed the updates on the vaccination law.
“We don’t know what the impact is going to be on this county specifically,” Jarrell said.
He confirms that the childhood vaccines are on hand and that the amount that was invested was $3,000.
“We will have to see, over a period of time, how this will effect the amount of immunizations given at the health department,” he said. “This is since some parents will have to pay for their child to be immunized. I anticipate that there will be some changes as time goes on.”
The next meeting will be on Sept. 21.
For more information on the Richmond County Health Department or to make an appointment call (910) 997-8300 or locate them on their Web site at publichealth.southernregionalahec.org/richmond.
Staff Writer Hollie Nivens can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 19 or by e-mailing at email@example.com