Clinton County Board of Health and staffers eye campaign for levy renewal


By Gary Huffenberger - ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com



From left are WIC Director Renee Quallen and Environmental Health Director Matt Johannes.

From left are WIC Director Renee Quallen and Environmental Health Director Matt Johannes.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

WILMINGTON — The Clinton County Health District has a levy renewal coming up on the fall ballot, prompting talk Monday at the monthly Board of Health meeting about the best way to campaign in light of COVID-19.

Board member Dr. Janet Gick suggested at the start of the discussion it would be OK “if we toot our horn a little bit about how we have risen to the occasion of COVID, I’m not sure how you would word that.”

But by the end of the dialogue, the consensus was to have a relatively low-key campaign for the health district’s levy renewal — a renewal means no tax increase.

Environmental Health Director Matt Johannes, a longtime staffer with the county health department, said at one point in the discussion, “I think going out and really touting it [local health district’s COVID response] might not be a good use of time, and probably not going to really help our end-result any.”

Women, Infant & Children (WIC) Director Renee Quallen thinks it’s important to highlight the services the health department provides besides measures to curb COVID-19 — services such as restaurant inspections, child car seat safety, and WIC.

“So that people know we do more than just what they may not be happy with,” Quallen said.

The impression or observation also made during the meeting is that overall the health district has a pretty positive image in much or most of the community.

Johannes said, “I think our public perception is pretty good right now.”

He thinks that’s partly due to the local health district not making local governments issue mask mandates or other mandated things as have some other counties and health jurisdictions.

“So, I think even though we have people against it, I don’t think there’s a big ‘Let’s storm the gates’ kind of mentality and I think that works to our favor,” he said.

It was pointed out that among Clinton Countians eligible for a COVID vaccine, 52 percent have been vaccinated.

Board of Health Chair Terri Thobaben said she doesn’t see a lot of hostility to the passage of a renewal.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

From left are WIC Director Renee Quallen and Environmental Health Director Matt Johannes.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/09/web1_matt_c.jpgFrom left are WIC Director Renee Quallen and Environmental Health Director Matt Johannes. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

By Gary Huffenberger

ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com