If the White House and Congress don't reach an agreement on budget cuts by Friday, March 1, an automatic 85-million dollars worth of cuts will be made across the board to many federally funded programs. The "sequester" spending cuts will affect cities across the U.S., including Zanesville.
"Our largest source of federal funds is our "Women, Infants and Children Supplemental Nutrition Program", and it could see a cut of 8.2% across the board is what we've been told to expect. And that would translate into about 230 participants for us," Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department, Health Commissioner, Corey Hamilton said.
The Public Health and Emergency Preparedness and Response funding is the second largest program that will receive cuts. The program's purpose is to prepare people for a a disaster or flu epidemic. Other programs that will feel the consequences of the "sequester" are the "The Immunization Action Program" grant, the "Help Me Grow" early intervention plan, and the "Bureau for Children with Mental Handicaps" program.
"We just always like to highlight how critical it is for the health department to have broad public support, and particularly local support. And at times like these, when our state and federal funding is less secure, we are so thankful for our community who has consistently embraced the services of public health in this community," Hamilton said.
The Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department receive many of their grants from the state level. Hamilton says she doesn't expect the cuts to affect the county immediately but within the next 6-12 months.