A further three-way air
ing of information between Ravenna Cithy Council, the Bica administration, and the Ravenna Board of Health would be helpful in determining the proper way to handle the vital statistic issue that continues to confront council.
Members of city council, hearing from constituents that they want vital statistics to remain a city service, are reluctant to outsource them. The Bica administration and the Ravenna Board of Health appear ready to transfer that function to the city of Kent, whose health department years ago began maintaining vital statistics for all subdivisions outside of the city of Ravenna at request of the Portage County Health Department, which at the time was strapped for funds.
This past year, however, the voters in Portage County approved a 0.4-mill health levy, most of which represents additional funding from what it has previously operated on. Whether the county might be now in a position to re-assume issuing of vital statistics and whether the city of Kent would give it up remains unknown to us.
Currently, the Ravenna health board contracts with the Portage County Health Department for services that would be provided by a health commissioner, nurse and medical director. These include inspections and nursing services.
The College of Public Health at Kent State University has a funded study under way to determine the best options for communities like Portage County, Ravenna and Kent. The city of Kent apparently is reluctant to push for merger. On the other hand, with the Portage County Health Department located within the city limits of Ravenna, a merger of the two would intuitively seem to make sense.
An informational session with the Ravenna Health Department, city council, and the Bica administration sharing their perspectives would be beneficial to all.