The Waco-McLennan County Health District Board recommended increasing the rate cities pay for its residents to receive services from the health department starting in October.
The current five-year agreement the City of Waco and other cities in McLennan County will expire on Sept. 30. Under that agreement, all cities besides Waco had a fixed rate.
According to Waco-McLennan County Public Health District Board Chairman and City Councilman John Kinnaird, the City of Waco paid covered additional costs associated with the district's budget, including capital improvement projects.
“As everyone else’s cost have been fixed, ours have kind of increased. We are just asking for a $7 million budget for members’ contributions to incrementally increase to take a slightly larger share than what they are currently," Kinnaird said.
The board is now recommending the cities that had a fixed rate in the past pay 30 extra cents per resident each year until 2022. This means they will be paying $3 per person, instead of $1.50 as they do now.
Several city councils still have to decide on whether to approve change, including Hewitt.
"In the past we've funded it through our general fund, which is our property tax rate," Hewitt City Manager Adam Miles said. "Again we are going to study a couple of options is it something that is going to have to be broken up as an additional fee. That's separately billed."
Miles said residents in Hewitt use several of the services provided by the health district, including immunizations and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children known as WIC.
"People's lives are affected by the services the health district is providing right now," Miles said. "When we have something that is an outbreak, like a tuberculosis issue or a mumps in a school. The health district is prepare to resolve these issues in a professional way."
If the cities don't agree to the rate increase, its residents would have to pay a higher rate when they use the services provided by the health district.
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