If a Tuesday afternoon meeting is any indication, Saline County and Salina City Commissioners appear close to reaching an agreement on funding of repair of the Salina-Saline County Health Department.
Tuesday afternoon county counselor Mike Montoya discussed the latest proposal from the city in regard to repair funding.
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.
Over a month ago the city gave the county notice that they decided 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.
City commissioners have indicated that they would like to negotiate a new interlocal agreement. The county commission, though, has proceeded with making the health department a county agency.
On Monday city commissioners drafted a proposal that includes the city paying $500,000 for repair of the current building, and the county paying $500,000. If the roof repair costs more that $1 million, an amount of $100,000 from the health department’s reserve funds could be used.
The proposal is similar to one sent last week. But in the previous proposal, $500,000 would be made available from the reserve fund instead of the $100,000 currently offered. And while the previous proposal was contingent upon a new interlocal agreement being reached to jointly operate the health department, the current one is not.
County commissioners agreed on everything in the proposal, except for the $100,000 in reserve funds. Instead they are asking for $250,000 to be used as needed. Current estimates indicate that it will cost more that $1.1 million to repair the current facility.
Once the building is repaired, plans for remodeling it will be discussed.
County Commission Chairman Randy Duncan made it clear that they were only discussing the issue of repair funding. They were not discussing a new interlocal agreement. The city delivered to the county Tuesday morning a 10 page proposal for a new interlocal agreement.
Duncan said that a budget vote earlier in the day has already essentially decided the issue. The county voted to fully fund the health department in 2014. Effective January 1st the health department will become a county agency, the Saline County Health Department.
Duncan also addressed fears that some services or programs might be lost. He said that the agency will be fully funded.