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Tax Hike Would Fund County Controlled Health Department

Todd Pittenger - July 9, 2013 10:57 pm

Saline County Commissioners are proposing taking full responsibility for the health department, and raising taxes to fund it.

Saline County sent a letter to the City of Salina late Tuesday afternoon, outlining its plan. The county is asking the city to pay $500,000 toward the repair of the current building. Effective January 1st, the health department will become solely a county agency.

Last week, the city proposed a plan in which both the city and county would contribute $500,000 to the project, the health department would contribute $850,000, and the rest would be funded through bonds. The health department would pay $150,000 rent a year to pay for the bonds.

The city also gave the county notice that they have elected to terminate the joint agreement between the two organizations at the end of this year, meaning that the county would solely be responsible for the health department. Commissioners had indicated that they would like to negotiate a new agreement.

The county rejected the offer, saying they would like to proceed with fixing the current facility. Since then they have been proceeding with making plans to repair the current facility.

In the letter Tuesday, the county said that it will be necessary to increase the mill levy to fund the health department. It also assumes that the city will lower its mill levy because it will no longer be funding the health department.

The county has requested a response from the city as quickly as possible. All three county commissioners signed the letter.

A structure problem with the roof caused the health department 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.

B Koz

July 10, 2013 at 8:24 am

I realize that my opinion is just that…MY opinion. However, if these 3 county commissioners think anyone wants to pay more property taxes to fund their answer to the health department building fiasco…they are sadly mistaken. So far over 75% of the people responding to the online poll do NOT want to repair the building. What makes you 3 people think you know what’s best when 3/4 of the people AND city officials want other options exercised? I don’t understand how you 3 think you and only you know what’s best for this county? I’m deeply offended by your lack of cooperation with the city…and most certainly do NOT want to pay even more taxes just so you 3 can have your way! UNDERSTOOD?

Iggy p Daily

July 10, 2013 at 11:48 am

Really well I am offended by the city commissioners who just want to throw away money like they did with the art deal on south ninth street. I agree I do not want my taxes raised and the county commissioners should not raise taxes but shut down many of the programs we are paying for because the majority of the people who use the health department are those that wish to sit on their butts not get and not get a job and keep their hands out. Responsibile people have jobs and insurance. Even if an employer does not offer insurance it can be purchased at a reasonable cost.

Iggy p Daily

July 10, 2013 at 11:55 am

Got to into this and repeated a couple of words. Anyways they should fix the roof then cut many of the programs and just offer the basics. I for one am tired supporting all these people who want freebees. It seems to me the city commissioners who have brought so much disgrace to our town is ready to point fingers when they cannot even fix the bridge on Greely a main entrace to the fair grounds and bi-center that they once again agreed to spend 8 million of our taxpayer monies. Now they want to built a 4 million dollar health department building. Aaron yes we voters will remember election time and many of you city commissioners will be got. THE CITY COMMISSIONERS ARE NOTHING BUT A BUNCH OF POLITICAL BULLIES.

Kevin Hays

July 10, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Im just not feeling the love here, but i know this I don’t need to pay anymore taxes period of any kind. My kids food bill, Gas, everything just keeps going up except for the pay check. I think both these commissions need to figure out how to get along for the betterment of everyone.

Aaron A. Aurora

July 10, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Cut half the programs of the Health Department and half the staff but DO NOT RAISE OUR TAXES.

B Koz

July 11, 2013 at 9:29 am

For the record Iggy….I’m not in favor of spending more money, however sometimes that’s necessary, that’s life. I’m not in favor of paying more property taxes either. I think the county commissioners are looking for ways to spend less total money….which is in itself commendable. However, the long term solution will not be addressed…they’ll still have an old building which is said to be too small. What happens down the road when something else goes wrong and those repairs wind up costing even more? The option of buying an existing building doesn’t serve very well as it provided very limited parking and creates problems for those using the facility. The only logical long term solution may well be the best AND the cheapest in the long term as it’d be good for decades….provide more space for expansion if necessary, and ultimately cost less in the long run. I think if the previous decisions to modify and remodel the present building had been properly addressed at that time…we wouldn’t be having this discussion either. Let’s not compound the problem by putting a bandaid on a major wound.

Iggy p Daily

July 11, 2013 at 12:07 pm

You realize KOZ the same argument you make can also be said and used for a new fairgrounds to be built out south of town. So do we keep raising taxes for everything ? The health department needs to be scaled back and staff cut as there are many programs that can be eliminated and there are duplicate staff for certain positions. Even with a new building problems can and will arise and can be obsolete in 10 years the way these administrators play the game.

B Koz

July 11, 2013 at 12:58 pm

You might be right Iggy…I don’t know much about our local Health Dept. It would seem that government in general has gotten too big, so it could be that the local chapter could downsize as well. My position is from years of trying to fix something cheaper only to have to spend more later to fix it right! You’ll quite often spend $2 trying to save $1. It doesn’t make sense…nor do commissioners who seem hell bent on doing things their way instead of the way the majority of people want it done. This IS a democracy we’re living in, is it not?….majority rules?

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City of Salina