City Still Negotiating For Health Department Unity
Todd Pittenger - August 5, 2013 6:42 pm
Salina City Commissioners send the same offer to Saline County Commissioners that was sent last week in regard to the Salina-Saline County Health Department.
Last Monday city commissioners drafted a proposal to send to the county that included among other things:
1. $500,000 city funding for the building
2. $500,000 in health department reserve funds to be used for renovation only
3. The concept of an interlocal agreement be agreed upon and details then worked out
The city’s proposal was contingent upon the health department staying intact.
County commissioners accepted several things that the city offered including the city paying $500,000 to fix the roof of the current building. They also agreed to allow $500,000 of health department reserve funds to be used to remodel the building.
In their counter-proposal, though, the health department would become a county department, with the city helping to fund it. Employees would fall under the county umbrella. Commissioners envision it working much like the agreement that funds Emergency Medical Services in Salina. EMS is jointly funded, but is solely a city department. County Commissioners Randy Duncan and Jim Gile voted in favor of the counter-proposal. Commissioner John Price voted against it.
If the health department would become a county department, employee insurance for the agency staff will greatly increase. The agency currently is under the city plan. The cost of health insurance for the county plan would cost over $139,000 more a year for the employer, or Saline County, as well. It would also cost employees more than double what they currently pay, or a little over $3,400 more a year.
There are also concerns about program cuts. In other counties in the state, where joint city-county health departments have split, over time programs have been lost.
City commissioners reiterated Monday that they would like joint funding and operation of the health department.
Saline County Commissioners could take up the issue as soon as Tuesday.
A structure problem with the roof caused the health department to close back in May of 2012. Since that time, city and county commissioners have been trying to come up with a plan for a permanent facility and the best course of action for the future of the agency.