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County Ponders New Health Department Proposal

Todd Pittenger - July 30, 2013 12:05 pm

Saline County Commissioners appear split as they discuss a new proposal from the City of Salina in regard to the future of the Salina-Saline County Health Department.

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.

After an emotional special meeting Monday evening, the city drafted a new proposal to send to the county. Highlights of the proposal include:

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 proposal is contingent upon the health department staying intact.

If a new agreement is not reached, the health department will become solely a county agency. If that happens there are fears that include possible loss of programs and staff.

County commissioners Tuesday morning discussed the issue at an early study session, and later heard multiple people speak about it at their formal meeting. At each meeting numerous people urged the county to accept Moday evening’s proposal from the city, and to enter into a new joint agreement.

Commissioner Randy Duncan said that he does not like the city’s proposal, and will not support it. City Commissioner Jon Blanchard was among those who attended the early morning study session. He urged Duncan to not “take personally” anything that has happened so far in the negotiations. An irritated Duncan responded that he has been involved in politics for over thirty-years and is not taking anything personally. During the meeting Duncan also expressed frustration that some people have characterized the county as being unwilling to compromise on the issue.

Commissioner John Price seemed receptive, saying though that he does not support spending any more than $1 million to fix the building. He read a bible passage that refers to not building a structure you cannot afford.

Luke:14 28-30
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, his man began to build, and was not able to finish.”

Commissioner Jim Gile seemed to be still struggling with the issue. Blanchard urged Gile to keep the health department a joint-city county agency, saying that he admired Gile’s lifetime of helping others and that this was a chance to do more good.

Before making any decisions, county commissioners will consult with county counselor Mike Montoya. They have a conference call with him scheduled for this afternoon.

bob jacobs

July 30, 2013 at 6:23 pm

The current county commissioners have to be sent from some alien lands that have long term goals of slowly dismantling all intelligent life forms on earth, beginning with Salina, KS. OMG, I am sick of hearing how Duncan is rude to everyone, thinks he is god, and thinks he knows more than the health dept staff, local doctors, and the medical community because they are all telling him his idea is not good for the welfare of the community. Yet he is bent on cutting services, staff, and says it is because he is a good steward. Blah, Duncan is scary and needs to stick to selling neon pens and other useless gadgets. Price, he has his own issues but has the most common sense of the three, and Gile has no clue why he is there and just votes with Duncan whenever he gets nudged to wake up.

Fuchs Mi

July 31, 2013 at 8:38 am

The current county commissioners are not being run by a few people of this town. It is refreshing to have these guys doing what they were elected to do and not being steered by outside people. To bad the city commissioners do not have the same insight. Duncan??? How about Aaron of the city commission? Shall we go down the line of the city commissioners one by one? It would not be pretty. Before you get on your band wagon you should look at your city commisioner’s who evidently fell off a turnip truck.

Aaron A. Aurora

July 31, 2013 at 9:28 am

What’s a matter Bob Jacobs you do not like people that have their own minds about how things should be done in local government? At least the county commissioners are letting the city commissioners bully them. Do you work in the health department and are afraid your job would be gone if the county takes over and cuts the fat? It seems all the previous county and city commissions just want to spend, spend, and spend. The city spent more than they had to on the Magnolia project and had that road closed for a year. Then they had a chance to get out of the art on S. Ninth but did not and ended up spending more money for bases to set this trash on. And how about the BiCenter? They hire a company to run it who have done nothing. The Stiffel has more entertainment in that little place on a continuance basis. But let’s spend 8 million more on the bi center for it to sit empty day after day. The county has wasted money before on the jail and giving in to the sheriff who could not catch himself let alone law breakers. Finally we got 3 guys in their who want to make a budget and stand by it and cut off alot of the wasteful spending. Further who does Blanchard think he is urging Gile to vote against what Gile believes is the right thing to do. The city commissioners bully act did not work so let them lie in the bed they made for themselves.

Iggy p Daily

August 1, 2013 at 8:40 am

Just as I figured there is no Bob or Robert Jacobs in Salina or Saline County. Surprise surprise surprise.

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City of Salina