Salina City Commissioners Monday were urged to work with Saline County Commissioners in negotiating a new inter-local agreement to operate the health department.
The health department board approved a letter last week asking both commissions to work together. It also asks that a committee be formed to begin a “rational process” to identify an appropriate and optimal location for the Salina-Saline County Health Department.
Dr. Trent Davis read the letter to city commissioners Monday. It will be presented to the county commission meeting Tuesday.
Mayor Barb Shirley told Davis that she believes an agreement can still be reached saying “I personally haven’t given up”.
City Manager Jason Gage said that it is still the city’s desire to work with the county to negotiate an agreement in governing the health department.
A structure problem with the roof caused the health department to close back ion May of 2012. Since that time, city and county commissioners have been trying to come up with a plan for a permanent facility.
Last week Saline County Commissioners proposed taking full responsibility for the health department, sending a letter to the City of Salina 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.
Prior to that, 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. City Manager Jason Gage reiterated that sentiment on Monday.
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.
The county has indicated 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.