The Whitley County Health Department is looking to expand a small garden, which is planted in some raised beds behind the main office in Williamsburg and will go to help feed health department clients.
Public Health Director Marcy Rein told the Whitley County Board of Health during its quarterly meeting Monday, that she is hoping to expand the garden using funds from the nutrition program and the Hep Connect grant.
The purpose would be two-fold. Health department employees would maintain the garden together as a team building program, and the food grown there would be distributed to health department patients, who might have issues getting fresh vegetables.
The health department is also planning to put a small food pantry in the lobby for people who visit the clinic. This would be used as an outlet to distribute many of the vegetables that are grown.
Health department employee Kathy Lay had started the garden.
In other business, the board:
• Discussed House Bill 8, which was approved by the Kentucky General Assembly and makes some changes to the Kentucky Retirement System.
Kentucky’s pension system is significantly underfunded with pension contributions slated to go up significantly starting July 1.
Rein noted that the bill will provide some much needed financial assistance to local health departments to help pay the increased pension costs.
“It looks like it is going to be significant assistance for us and make a big difference in our budget,” Rein said.
She added that it is unclear how much assistance will be provided or how long the assistance will last.
• Scheduled the next board of health meeting for June 21 at a location to be determined. Williams noted that it’s possible the board might go back to an in-person meeting at that time.
• Discussed nuisance complaints and animal bites. During the last quarter the health department investigated 19 animal bite cases, including 13 dog bites, four cat bites, one rat bit and one hamster bite.
• Re-elected Dr. David Williams as board chairperson and Don Creech as vice-chairperson.