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Illinois health departments facing cuts

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JACKSON COUNTY, Ill. -

They do everything from immunizations to inspecting your local restaurant, but many local health departments in Illinois are facing cuts due to the ongoing budget impasse.

In Jackson County the health department received roughly a $1 million in fiscal year 2015.

But they haven't received a dime for 2016.

As flu season kicks into high gear, Jackson County Health Department Director Miriam Link-Mullison says she has to ask her staff to do more with less.

"In the last several years we've had to reduce our staff by 20 percent. We've taken every opportunity to save," Link-Mullison said.

With funding for public health being reduced yearly, Link-Mullison says her department is used to working a tight budget.

"You can't run an agency with less money, and more expenses," Link-Mullison said.

It's been months since her department has seen a check, but she's trying not to cut services.

"We've literally looked under every rock we can to save money." Link-Mullison said.

With a $127,000 shortfall and no funding coming in from Springfield, health department leaders have turned their attention to the Jackson County Board.

Finance Committee Chairman John Rendleman says they are looking to find room in the budget to keep these essential services running.

"Jackson County is not flush with cash. In order to fund the health department and give them some extra money, we're going to have to cinch up the belt a little more in other places," Rendleman said.

If the board passes the appropriation at their Nov. 17 meeting, the health department can continue to run five days a week without any layoffs.in Murphysboro, 

The Jackson County Ambulance Service is also feeling the pinch of the Illinois budget impasse. They are discussing raising their rates as much as $200 per trip due to fiscal concerns.

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