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July 31, 2014

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Health District laying off staff to help cut deficit

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Steve Marcus

Brookelynn Drake, 7-months cries after getting a flu shot at the Southern Nevada Health District, 330 S. Valley View Blvd., Monday, January 14, 2013.

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Southern Nevada Health District Dr. Joseph Iser at the SNHD offices Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013.

The Southern Nevada Health District approved layoffs Thursday that will eliminate about 10 percent of its staff and result in cuts in public health services, officials said.

The exact number of jobs to be eliminated has not been determined, but it is expected to be between 50 and 60 positions, according to Chief Health Officer Joseph Iser. The health district employs 515 people.

“We are downsizing, and it will have an impact on public health,” Iser said. “Most likely, that will be seen in fewer immunization clinics and the availability of other services.”

Most of the cuts will be made in nursing and administration, Iser said. Some managers and supervisors will be laid off, and some people may be moved into other positions, he said.

The process will take place over the next couple weeks.

The Health District entered budget planning for the upcoming fiscal year facing a deficit of $10.5 million. It whittled the deficit to $4.6 million by eliminating vacant positions and making cuts to travel expenses and in other areas, officials said.

The district is projecting revenue of $56.8 million and expenditures of $61.4 million in fiscal 2015. Its funding comes from fees for services and permits, property taxes and grants, among other sources.

In 2012, the Health District’s building was deemed unsafe, and the offices were moved into a leased building.

Iser said he would like to find a cheaper lease or purchase a building, saving the district money, and plans to make a recommendation to the board in April.

The district staff and board decided it would be too difficult and drastic to cut the deficit all at once. The plan is to have the deficit eliminated within three years, Iser said.

For fiscal 2014, the Health District will spend an estimated $50.4 million on salaries, benefits and payroll taxes. The projection for the same expenditures in the fiscal 2015 budget is $46.3 million.

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