Posted: Sep 20, 2013 8:23 PM by Jacqueline Quynh - MTN News
HAMILTON - Come the end of the month, 30, some 400 people in Ravalli County will not have access to health screenings or family planning services after the Ravalli County Commission decided to reject Title X funding.
"What kind of county do we want to live in, the kind of county where we care for the health care of the poorest most vulnerable among us or the kind of county that we send them to Missoula?" one resident asked.
There's been a week's worth of meetings allowing the public to voice their protest or support of Title X funding.
"It's my right, it's my responsibility, to make sure they have the correct information they have to make these choices," another woman stated.
The question came down to whether a commissioner on the Ravalli County Commissioners would change their mind and motion for another vote, to give authority to the Ravalli County Board of Health to take the funds - or do nothing.
No one on the Commission made a motion, so the initial vote stayed in place - turning down the federal money.
Commissioner Suzy Foss was in the hot seat. She's the only member who had voted to accept the grant in the past, but not this year - which led to the 3-2 decision to reject Title X funding.
Foss cited concerns over "strings attached," as did other commissioners.
"It's not just Title X, it's been said we take a lot of grant money, and that bothers and I've been doing more and more research about it, and there may be other things I'm not going to be comfortable accepting anymore," Foss explained.
Commissioner Greg Chilcott, who was in favor of the grant, says it was not an easy decision.
"I think all of our commissioners are disappointed in some of the services, that are not going to be able to be delivered in this traditional format," Chilcott said.
"I think it's horrible," Hamilton resident Leslie Striebel commented.
Many who turned out say they were stunned, and say that the decision will especially hurt the young and those with low incomes.
However, there were also a minority who applauded the decision.
"We want to be the first to spearhead to begin working on this deficit that is destroying America," Hamilton resident Bob Kubiak stated.
The question for the county now is how and where it's going to find money to make up for the funding loss.
"I think for us we're going to move to the private sector, to look at some funding, we may look at a mill levy," Chilcott said.