New City Health Department Proposal

Salina City Commissioners met in a special session Tuesday morning to discuss a proposal to respond to the county regarding the Salina-Saline County Health Department

Commissioners ultimately approved a resolution affirming that they want to work together in negotiating a new inter-local agreement. As a compromise, they think the best course of action now is to find a new existing building in lieu of building new at the current location

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.

Tuesday morning the city agreed to pay $500,000 to Saline County for roof repair if the county declares it has no further legal claim against the city regarding this matter. The city also proposes to work together to find an existing building that can be reconfigured. The city also agreed that if the county should not choose to work to find a suitable existing building it will reduce its mill levy to offset the budget cost reduction for public health care services.

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. That letter was read to the Salina City Commission on Monday, and to the County Commission Tuesday.

Saline County Commissioners later in the morning took comment on the issue at their regularly scheduled meeting. Several citizens spoke, asking the commissioners to work with the city on a new inter-local agreement.

Commissioners Tuesday were told that if the health department becomes a county agency solely, there will be some incidental increases that need to be accounted for. One big added expense will be health insurance. Currently the health department employees are on the city insurance plan. By moving to the county plan it would cost over $139,000 a year more if 42 employees are retained.

Saline County Commissioners drafted a letter in response later on Tuesday. According to Commission Chairman Randy Duncan, the county is agreeable to the offer of $500,000 to repair the current building.