Once it becomes a city following the 2020 U.S. Census, will the Village of Sunbury retain the services of the Delaware General Health District?
The question was brought up during a recent Sunbury Village Council meeting by DGHD Health Commissioner Shelia Hiddleson.
“I know you are anxiously preparing for your city-dom. I don’t know if that’s a word or not,” Hiddleson said to the councilmen and Sunbury Mayor Tommy Hatfield on April 3. “One of your decisions that will have to be made is whether or not you want to have an independent city health department, or whether you want to stay with the General Health District. We of course, hope that you would like to stay with the General Health District.”
She said the DGHD could discuss with Sunbury’s council and/or Charter Commission what would be required to set up an independent city health department in the state of Ohio.
The Ohio Revised Code states once a municipality reaches a population of 5,000 or more, it achieves city status, and among things, it is required to provide public health services, Hiddleson said.
“Your mayor becomes your de facto board of health president, and you would take over all of those things that a health department would have to do,” she said if Sunbury chose to create its own department.
However, if Sunbury wanted to continue to use DGHD services, a contract would be negotiated. Hiddleson said this has been done in the past with the cities of Delaware and more recently, Powell.
“We’re a truly combined health district, not one that just contracts with cities — there’s a big difference there,” she said.
Hiddleson added the DGHD would continue to provide public health services to Sunbury if there was a lapse in the period between remaining a village and becoming a city.
Hatfield requested a copy of the contract with Powell for informational purposes.
“We would have to go sooner rather than later,” Hatfield said of a decision. “We’ll be a charter form of government come next year, prior to being declared a city. Technically, we would still be a village, but it would be great to memorialize that in the process.”
Councilman Joe St. John thanked the DGHD for its assistance in obtaining exercise equipment for the village’s Park at General Rosecrans.
Hiddleson also thanked Sunbury for being at the district’s advisory council meeting in March.
“We are so fortunate in this county that our political subdivision partners work so well with us that when we have to have our annual meeting, I don’t have to sit in another room trying to get a quorum together in order to have the meeting and appoint the Board of Health members,” she said.
Based in downtown Delaware, the DGHD has a satellite location in the Sunbury Plaza shopping center that is expected to open later this spring or this summer.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.