The Benton-Franklin Board of Health on Wednesday approved a 2014 budget for the bicounty health district that includes no major program cuts or employee layoffs. In fact, the $9.1 million spending plan adds a few more staff positions for next year.
"We're optimistic in 2014 and we're proud that we're able to offer the same services and (don't) have to cut our services to the public," said Matt Truman, finance manager for the Benton-Franklin Health District.
The health board, comprised of Benton and Franklin county commissioners, approved the budget during an afternoon meeting in Kennewick.
The health district this year has the equivalent of about 82 full-time employees. The 2014 budget brings that number to about 87, including additional food safety, maternity support and oral health positions.
The spending plan includes a $500,000 reserve and projects building that up to $900,000 through 2014.
The health district could lose around $50,000 to $100,000 in funding for the Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, program if another round of sequestration cuts happens. The 2014 budget doesn't factor in that loss but a contingency plan is in place in case it happens, Truman said.
The health district gets most of its operations funding from intergovernmental grants, licenses and permits, and charges for services such as immunizations.
Health district officials in 2014 anticipate a modest increase in license and permit activity, as well as an increase in immunization revenue because of newly enhanced Medicaid rates, according to a district budget document. A dip in Medicaid administrative match dollars is expected.
The budget document said "state funding regarding general funds appears to have stabilized" with the passage of the biennial budget.
-- Sara Schilling: 582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @saraTCHerald