WINFIELD -- The Putnam County Health Department is seeking more than $180,000 in emergency funding from the state health department to cover unpaid bills.
Putnam County Commissioners signed a letter of support at their regular meeting Tuesday morning as part of an official application for emergency funding that the county health department will submit to the state division of local health.
The commission has already pledged to loan the department $30,000 to cover immediate expenses.
The biggest portion of the unpaid bills is $80,800 in rent "and associated shared costs."
The department moved into a new, larger facility in Teays Valley in late 2010 in hopes of expanding its services, but so far that hasn't come to fruition.
Another chunk of the debt is $38,000 in attorney fees.
Through most of 2010, the department was engaged in a costly legal battle with a former employee who sued for wrongful termination and was ultimately reinstated in early 2011.
Also unpaid are $36,513 in vaccine costs, $18,000 in federal taxes, $8,570 in state taxes, and $4,514.31to the state office of technology.
In the letter, the commission expresses support, saying, "It is without reservation that we support this important funding to keep our local health department on its feet." Commissioners Joe Haynes and Andy Skidmore signed the letter. Steve Andes was absent.
Former health department administrator Jackie Fleshman resigned earlier this year. The new administrator, Joel McKinney discovered the financial shortfall, and brought it to the commission's attention.
The commission has reacted by asking the state health department to do a special audit of the county department's finances.
Commissioners also moved earlier this month to require all county-funded independent agencies to submit quarterly budget reports and appear before the commission halfway through the year to give financial updates and answer questions.The Putnam County Commission meets at 9 a.m. the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at the county courthouse in Winfield. All meetings are open to the public.