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A Year Later Officials Still Debating Health Department

KSAL Staff - June 17, 2013 4:25 pm

Salina City Commissioner Aaron Householter (right) debates with Saline County Commissioner John Price (left).

Salina City Commissioner Aaron Householter (right) debates with Saline County Commissioner John Price (left).

In a spirited joint meeting Monday afternoon, Salina City and Saline County Commissioners discussed the displaced Salina / Saline County Health Department.

It’s been over a year, and the two commissions are still trying to find a permanent home for the agency.

A structure problem with the roof caused the agency to close over a year ago, on May 31, 2012. Since that time, city and county commissioners have been trying to come up with a plan for a permanent facility.

Currently the health department is operating in two temporary locations, one at the former Rema Bakeware building at 625 E. North Street, and the other at the former St. John’s Hospital facility at 710 E. Ash Street.

At the meeting, which became heated at times, it was apparent that the two bodies are far apart on the best course of action. The county would like to fix the roof on the current facility and than renovate about 1/3 of it. The city would like to tear down the current condemned facility and build a new one.

At the conclusion of the meeting city commissioners indicated that they will explore the possibility of turning over control of the health department solely to the county. Currently, Saline County is one of only five health department in Kansas that shares services with the city and county. If that were to happen, more than likely the health department would have to cut back on the services it offers.

County Commissioners are scheduled to again discuss the issue at their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday. The county owns the current abandoned facility, with the city helping with some of coasts. But the county could decide to go ahead and begin repairing it without the consent of the city.

City of Salina