LOCKPORT – More security is needed after hours at the headquarters building of the Niagara County Health Department, Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton told the Board of Health on Thursday.
The department shares the three-story Shaw Building, on the Mount View campus off Upper Mountain Road, with the county Mental Health Department.
Stapleton said that two days a week, Mental Health’s clinics continue after the Health Department offices have closed for the day at 4 p.m.
“We need to make sure people can’t just wander through the Public Health portion of the building,” he said. “We find people wandering who we know are Mental Health clients because we’re closed.”
He said that a meeting is coming up sometime this month with County Manager Jeffrey M. Glatz, Risk and Insurance Director Jennifer R. Pitarresi and a representative from the Mental Health Department.
Mental Health has offices on the first and second floors of the Shaw Building, while Health Department offices are on the first and third floors, as well as in the basement.
“Nothing has happened, but we want to make sure nothing happens,” Stapleton told the board.
Board member Dennis J. Barberio asked, “Are there security cameras in the building?”
“I’ve been told there are, but I’ve never seen them,” Stapleton answered.
On another matter, the board approved a $750 fine against Mobil Express, 8721 Niagara Falls Blvd., Niagara Falls, for selling tobacco to a minor. The incident occurred during a Nov. 20 compliance check.
Assistant County Attorney Gary H. Lisowski said the incident may have revealed the need for more detailed regulations and training for store clerks.
“This is not the first clerk who said, ‘Well, I asked them their age.’ Asking the age is not enough. You have to ask to see the valid ID,” Lisowski said. “They can say any age they want.”
He said that, according to state law, “If they clearly look like they’re over age 25, you don’t have to ask for the ID, but it’s not a defense [against charges to merely ask the person’s age].”
Also Thursday, Stapleton told the board cuts to the budget of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the federal sequester controversy might have a local impact.
The Health Department obtains vaccines from the CDC, and the department receives federal aid for various programs. He said potential cuts “won’t be limited to nonmandated programs. Even preschool [special education] is on the list.”
Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposed state budget would eliminate funding for the program for physically handicapped children, said Lisa M. Chester, director of the programs for children with special needs. “It’s one of the only programs we have for middle-income people,” Chester said.