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Chelan, Douglas counties pledge nearly $1 million to health district

Chelan and Douglas counties this week allocated $939,000 in federal relief funds to the Chelan-Douglas Health District.

Chelan County commissioners approved $560,000 in funding and Douglas County commissioners approved $379,000.

The money is being paid for from the individual counties’ allocations from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). ARPA was passed last year by the federal government to help municipalities across the country cover costs incurred by the COVID pandemic, or bolster operations and some infrastructure.

The health district will use the money for a variety of projects, from modernizing its building and critical computer systems to upgrading its environmental health program.

“With this money, the health district is going to be able to update systems and infrastructure that are long overdue to be modernized,” said Luke Davies, health administrator for the Chelan-Douglas Health District. “I am excited that this will allow health district staff to better serve the public and help us to become more efficient at meeting the needs of our community.”

The money gives the health district, which has been heavily engaged in the COVID pandemic these past two years, some measure of peace, said Kevin Overbay, chairman of the Chelan County Board of Commissioners. The health district will be able to use its general fund to pay for these efforts and upgrades while being assured it will be reimbursed with ARPA dollars in the near future, Overbay said.

“These dollars, when utilized by the health district, will be far reaching,” he said. “The money will not only benefit public health overall in our community but also help stand up the health district for years to come.”

Davies approached both counties in the fall, asking the boards consider allocating ARPA funding to the health district. He also has approached the cities of East Wenatchee and Wenatchee to ask for funding via ARPA.

“We are very aware of the value the varied CDHD programs and services bring to folks throughout our county,” said Douglas County Commissioner Marc Straub. “We come alongside Chelan County — and hopefully other local jurisdictions in the future — to provide much-needed financial support for the health district.”

Since the Great Recession, funding for CDHD has been significantly reduced, Straub added.

“It is our expectation that, through the strategic use of these ARPA funds, the health district will be able to make much-needed improvements that will lend to greater efficiencies in the delivery of services that impact the lives and livelihoods of our citizens,” he said.

Last Updated: 01/07/2022 03:44 PM

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