To the Editor - The Press
Mayor’s Column for April 6, 2016
The City of Avon Lake administration and city council have been wrestling with the state mandate to provide public health services for its residents under an accredited health department. Since 1974, the City of Avon Lake has contracted with the City of Lorain for health services which includes the inspection of restaurants, water quality at our schools (drinking fountains), inspection of the 16 neighborhood pools in our community, mosquito control, etc. For the past 40+ years, the City of Lorain has provided us with quality services in a very timely manner and we are grateful for their efforts on behalf of our residents. Unfortunately, the Lorain City Health Department will no longer be an option for us.
Beginning in 2018, each health department must begin the accreditation process and be approved to meet new and higher standards by 2020. Because of severe financial problems being experienced by the City of Lorain, including the recent loss of 2,000 jobs due to steel mill layoffs, the City of Lorain will be closing its health department within the coming months. That being the case, Avon Lake must find another provider of public health services.
The City of Elyria is facing the same difficult decision. In addition to a bleak financial forecast, Elyria will be losing the Bendix plant as it announced that it will be moving to Avon in the next few years. Elyria is struggling with the cost of keeping their health department open and how to pay for the additional accreditation requirements.
Where does this leave Avon Lake? Under state law, residents must have public health services provided by an accredited department and our only possible option would be to join the Lorain County General Health District. The cost to Avon Lake residents would likely be .5 mil (an estimated $426,000) if Elyria chooses to close its department and join the county health district along with the city of Lorain. The annual impact on residents of Avon Lake would be about $13 per $100,000 of home value. If we chose to open our own department it would require that we meet accreditation requirements which will become at least twice as expensive compare to joining the county health system.
Lorain County Health District Director David Covell will be at the city council meeting on April 11th to answer any questions that you might have about this important issue.
In addition, most residents of the Cottage District (some still call it Stop 45) will see the replacement of their natural gas lines in about six weeks. Those residents affected have already received a notice in the mail explaining the project. Please attend a scheduled meeting on April 19 at 7 PM at Learwood Middle School cafeteria or go to avonlake.org for more details.
Check out the 4th Annual North Coast Business Expo which will be held on April 28 from 3:00 – 5:30 PM at Avon Lake Towne Center Main Street, 500 Community Drive. There will be approximately 50 vendors with drawings to enter and some free goodies to sample. Come join us and learn about local businesses ready to serve you. The event is open to the public, and best of all, free!