by Brian Hoffmann
Sheboygan County Board Member
I have been asked this question many times. I have had the opportunity to serve on the Sheboygan City Council, The Town of Wilson Board, and the Sheboygan County Board. I am not an expert – but I have learned quite a bit of information. I have also been urged to write this to attempt to answer “what do we get for our tax dollars”?
I am going to start by diving into the Sheboygan County Health and Human Services Department. I will focus on a small, but important, Environmental Health Services unit within the Division of Public Health. Work done by staff in this unit includes some eye-popping numbers:
1. A contract with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) for the inspection of food, water, lodging, campgrounds and water recreation facilities. The environmental health professionals also investigate complaints of just about any nature including: food, water and airborne outbreaks. Especially, when Legionnaires is suspected. Work in this area includes:
• 746 Food facilities
• 134 Lodging facilities
• 83 Water recreation facilities (i.e. pools).
• 16 Campgrounds
• 4 Recreational Educational Camps (overnight camping for youth)
•19 Tattoo/body piercing establishments.
2. A contract with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to do well inspection and beach monitoring (in partnership with Suburban Labs). Work in this area includes:
• Water samples from area beaches from 6/1/21 – 9/1/21
• Signs posted indicating water quality
• 164 wells sampled and inspected annually (restaurants, churches, businesses, etc.)
3. Provision of education and support. The dangers of radon and lead are much of a concern to everyone. An informed public leads to a healthy public.
4. The environmental health staff also follows up on reported animal bites and helps with lead hazard investigations.
The scope of work relating to this division is enormous. There are 975 licensed facilities in Sheboygan County to cover. The division functions with 5 people, yes only 5 people. Surely, we are getting tremendous returns for our tax dollars. In addition, there are many other functions, both large and small for the entire department of Health and Human Services to cover during the year. The fight against COVID is also on our shoulders.
If you have enjoyed and find this article informative, I will continue to explore and write about other Sheboygan County Departments and functions.