Saline County is moving ahead with a proposal to take over the Salina-Saline County Health Department, a move that a country commissioner says could include layoffs and a property tax increase.
County commissioners presented a proposal Tuesday to Salina city commissioners requesting that the city pay $500,000 toward the $1 million cost of roof repairs at the health department building. The proposal also noted that the city's involvement with the health department would end at the end of the year, The Salina Journal reported. "We made the decision today to become a county-only health department," County Commission Chairman Randy Duncan said. "This will be a good move for Saline County. Hopefully, the city will get on board."
City Commissioner Aaron Householter said the city will take the county's proposal under consideration.
"Any proposal that keeps the health department in the same building won't be positively received by me, but I can't speak for the rest of the commission," Householter said.
Duncan said the county is considering increasing the property tax levy to pay for the loss of city funding but didn't know by how much. The city and county currently each pay about $720,000 a year to operate the department.
Commissioners have also reviewed ways to reduce health department spending, Duncan said, noting at least two positions have been identified that could be eliminated if the health department becomes a county department.