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Board of Health

Board of Health

The Board of Health is the authoritative body for the Lincoln County Health Department. It operates under the powers and duties provided in Washington State Law RCW 70.05.060. The board is comprised of six members: half are elected officials and half are community members, following a legislative change in 2021. You can learn more about the Lincoln County Board of Health on the Meet the Board page.

Meetings are open to the public and held in the Lincoln County Commissionerís Chambers, located in Davenport.† Previous meeting minutes and materials are open and available on the Meetings and Materials page.

Following Washington State Law RCW 70.05.060, the Lincoln County Board of Health promotes and protects the health of Lincoln County residents. This includes the board taking measures to:

  • Advocate actions which protect the health of Lincoln County,
  • Enact and enforce local health regulations to preserve, promote, and improve the health of county,
  • Authorize law enforcement to ensure compliance with health regulations,
  • Create public health policy which promotes and protects county health,
  • Develop an annual work plan in collaboration with the Public Health Director and Health Officer, and
  • Support opportunities and activities to implement the annual plan.

All of the boardís activities must fall within their workload limits and the areas of legal board authority. The Board of Health Code provides the power to promote public health, prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases, abate nuisances, and establish fee schedules for services, including licenses and permits, among others.

The board of health has three areas of power to achieve their purpose: guidelines and recommendations; resolutions; rules and regulations.

Guidelines and recommendations are advisory and do not have legal standing. They reflect the current thinking of the board and provide policy guidance to the health department, county administration, general public, and others.

Resolutions are policy statements from the board but do not have legal standing and are generally considered temporary. The board generally issues resolutions to express support for a project, program, or policy.

The board has the authority to enact countywide rules and regulations with legal standing and the backing of law enforcement. The Board of Health Code establishes this power as a requirement for the board to promote and protect public health. The rules and regulations established by the board are accompanied by a public hearing, as once they are passed, they are permanent.

In addition to the above powers, the board is expected to act as an advocate for the health of the county, which includes speaking to the media, elected officials, county leaders, and community members about health matters.

The board of health also has the power to determine the fee schedule for permits and licenses relating to public health.

The board does not have the authority over fiscal matters of the department of health. All budgeting and appropriation powers reside with the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners. Any spending of the health department funds for board programs or initiatives must receive approval through the county budget appropriation process.

The fee schedule determined by the board of health must not exceed the reasonable cost of providing the service the fee funds.

The board of health power and responsibilities are established by Washington State Law RCW 70.05.060.

The make-up of the board is now governed by House Bill 1152 and Senate Bill 5173, which requires 50% of the board to be non-political.† The non-political members must fit into one of four categories:

  • Health care providers, including doctors, nurses, etc.
  • Public health practitioners, including environmental health professionals, employees of health providers, etc.
  • Community stakeholders, including business owners, nonprofit organization leaders, etc.
  • Consumers of public health, including people who have experienced health inequity, people who have enrolled in a public health program, etc.

The Lincoln County Health Department and its board are local government offices, not extensions of the Washington State Department of Health. The specific distinctions can be found on the WA DOH Public Health System page.