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Lubbock Health Department to Continue As-Is

Cole Shooter

At their meeting Thursday morning, the Lubbock City Council chose to leave the City’s Health Department as-is in front of a packed house.

The City’s Board of Health voted 7 to 1 last Friday to keep the Health Department without removing or splitting up the services of STD and immunization services, and illness surveillance, as well keeping them in their current facilities located at 19th Street and Texas Avenue for the time being.

There were no extra stipulations for future possibilities or changes for the Health Department added by the council, who simply chose to leave services alone, accepting the recommendation of the Board of Health.

Grants for the current fiscal year were accepted to continue running the department, but an $83,000 deficit exists if the City were to return the Health Department to its previous staffing numbers.

Mayor Tom Martin discussed what he feels is necessary for the Health Department to succeed while keeping the City’s budget in mind, and that involves help from the local medical community.

“There is a need for a Health Department, but there’s also a need to fund it. And there’s also a limit to what the taxpayers can afford to pay vis-a-vis other services…It’s going to take a community effort”, Martin said.

Martin continued, saying “A lot of the professionals that have bombarded us with the emails and phone calls, and ‘hey, have you got a minute’ and so forth, are going to have to step up and they’re going to have to offer their services pro bono, like the medical community used to do in this town…As a medical community, we’ve gotten away from that.”

The council unanimously approved the measure in the standing room-only chambers.

Also approved at Thursday’s meeting was the second reading of a voluntary annexation of an area that includes the Reese Golf Course Clubhouse.

The annexation of the 120.4 acres was done at the behest of a developer who wants access to City services. A waiting period is involved, meaning that the area will be officially annexed in early December.

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