Just what doctor ordered: Merger of city, county health departments

Just what doctor ordered: Merger of city, county health departments

Iam writing in support of the merger of the Youngstown City Board of Health and the Mahoning County Board of Health.

After humbly being elected as a Poland Township trustee in 2011 and then being involved with talks to merge the two entities, I feel this is a watershed moment for our entire region. After listening to the head of the Summit County Health Department at a recent meeting, it is clear that the merger would be a win for our entire area.

I also feel very confident in the leadership of the health boards, outgoing Director Matthew Stefanak, city officials and newly appointed Director Patricia M. Sweeney, that this merger will be a success.

One aspect of the merger that is not discussed much in the political circles, as well as in the press, is the potential for cost savings with the consolidation of facilities.

As it stands now, the city of Youngstown pays Mahoning County to rent space at Oakhill Renaissance Place on Oak Hill Avenue (this will soon be increasing), and the Mahoning County Health Board/Department pays a private landlord to be housed in Austintown, which happens to be much farther away from most parts of the county, especially the Poland/Struthers/Boardman area.

The combining of the facilities to Oakhill or the Market Street Annex would be the most logical thing to do. Not only does this save money for the entire county, it also would help with filling up space at Oakhill and would provide better services for the people.

In a time when everyone wanted a one- stop shop, we have a great opportunity to further that accomplishment.

The names of the landlords may change, but the theory should stay the same. All government entities should be paying rent to the county — not to a private landlord.

In the end, the people will be better served. Eric Ungaro, Poland