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No Partnership Between City and County on Health Department

Cole Shooter,

At their meeting this week, the Lubbock City Council heard a report over why a partnership regarding the City of Lubbock Health Department would not be feasible.

Dr. Steve Presley, chairman of the Board of Health, told the council that the group found that a partnership between the City of Lubbock and Lubbock County to operate the Health Department was not a feasible move to consider, and that the group should stop investigating the possibility for now.

“There is nothing to be gained by the formation or creation of a City-County Health Department,” Presley said. “If the situation changes and vast amounts of funding come in specifically for health services, perhaps we could reconsider at some point in the future.”

“There’s no money on the county side. I don’t think there’s any money on the city side, and even if there is, it wouldn’t benefit the citizens for us to come together,” said Lubbock County Judge Tom Head. “Those deliverables are determined on the amount of grant money, and we don’t have any control over that.”

The City Health Department currently provides illness surveillance, an STD clinic, and immunizations. The STD clinic and immunizations are largely covered by state grant funds.

District 5 Councilwoman Karen Gibson expressed displeasure over the group’s findings, saying “I am extremely disappointed in the results. I was told from the start that the county would not participate, and I really had more confidence in our county than that.”

“The City is being asked to take all the slack for all of the County, all of the City, and the County is saying ‘it’s your baby’, you go find the money…we have to pony up and we have to cut, cut, cut, and the County’s not willing to do that, and I don’t think that’s fair,” Gibson elaborated.

During budget discussions at the last Council meeting, City Chief Financial Officer Andy Burcham said that federal and state grant reductions are expected, including funding reductions for the Health Department.

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