MILTON — Santa Rosa County commissioners have decided to help the county Health Department through its budget shortfall.



Commissioners on Thursday voted unanimously to approve $239,000 in emergency funding for the department.



“This is a one-time allocation,” Commissioner Bob Cole said. “It does not increase their annual budget.”



Commissioners will have to approve a budget amendment for the transfer to be completed. They are expected to discuss that at their July 8 meeting and vote July 11.



The additional funding will be used to support the department’s programs and services.



The Health Department has lost $800,000 in state funding the past five years and $225,000 from the county over the same period.



Changes in Medicaid also have strained the department’s finances in recent years.



Commissioners also approved a new rate structure for the department that raises clients’ fees for many services it offers.



The Health Department’s budget for fiscal 2013 is about $5.1 million. Its projected budget for next year is $4.1 million.