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.