NEW CUMBERLAND — The Hancock County Health Department is in the process of building a new home, and is looking for some support to help take the project over the finish line.
Jackie Huff, administrator of the health department, addressed Hancock County commissioners Thursday, noting current plans are to break ground for the new building next week.
Huff explained the project has been discussed for several years.
“If you’ve seen our interior, you know it’s well-needed,” Huff said.
Plans for the health department are to have a 4,000-square-foot, one-level, concrete-slab building on county-owned property located along state Route 2 next to the Hancock County Magistrate Court building.
In addition to the office space for the health department, the new building will include an indoor, drive-through area which Huff said will allow for a dedicated space for laboratory testing.
“We found through COVID response we couldn’t do everything we needed to do,” Huff said, explaining much of the COVID tests offered through the health department currently are handled in the parking lot outside of the health department.
Huff thanked the commission for its support on the project, but added the department currently is $200,000 short of its goal for the building. The bid for the new building came in at a cost of $553,000, and Huff said most of the funding, so far, has come through grants.
The commission extended its appreciation to the health department for its work and its efforts on the new location.
“I know you’ve talked about this for a while,” Commissioner Jeff Davis said.
According to Huff, the hope is to have the new building completed in September.
The commission, in other business, voted 2-1 in favor of paying former 911 dispatcher Steven Dixon for his accrued time off. Commissioner Eron Chek cast the dissenting vote, saying she feels Dixon didn’t qualify for time off as he was only in the full-time position for fewer than two months.
Unanimous approval was given to a proposal to increase pay for the county’s sheriff’s deputies and security personnel by $2 an hour.