Las Vegas Sun

January 25, 2015

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County Government:

Health District budget request raising some eyebrows on the Clark County Commission

Among the many public agencies with its hand out looking for county money is the Southern Nevada Health District, which provides such services as STD testing, restaurant inspections and immunizations.

Like other agencies that serve the public, the Health District needs money at a time when less is available even though demands for its services are greater than ever.

With that in mind, Clark County commissioners Tuesday will discuss the Health District’s budget plan for the next fiscal year. The Health District expects to get almost $2 million less from the county than last year, but there still might be resistance from county officials.

The reason: The Health District’s tentative budget for next year includes an increase of about 2.5 percent in salaries and benefits for employees. About 78 percent of the Health District’s budget is for salaries and benefits.

Commissioner Lawrence Weekly said commissioners will take a hard look at the wage increases.

“It’s a hard pill to swallow when almost everyone else is taking pay cuts,” he said. “It raises a lot of concern.”

Two years ago, the Health District’s board approved wage increases of about 5.5 percent for most of its employees. That increase was guaranteed in a union contract, but some county commissioners were bothered that, during the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, the union wasn’t asked for concessions like other public employee unions.

Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani said Monday she hopes the county considers bringing the Health District under the county’s umbrella, similar to departments like Social Service or Business Licensing, so it has more direct control of the district’s budget.

Potentially adding to the district’s budget difficulties in the next year is the fact that it needs a new building, repairs to an old one, or the purchase or lease of an existing one. Its main facility on Shadow Lane was closed in April because of structural problems.

At a Health District board meeting in April, costs to construct a new building were estimated at $60 million; buying a building was estimated at $37.3 million, and repairing the existing building would be $6.7 million.

The 47-year-old main building needs a host of repairs and upgrades and has needed upkeep for years. As far back as 1997, the Health District was told a new fire suppression system had to be installed within five years; one of the repairs listed as currently needed is a new fire suppression system.

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  1. Of course something like this would raise eyebrows with the useless Clark County Commissioners.

    How dare an important health service detract their attention away from holding hearings on banning dogs from Las Vegas Boulevard, eyesores, costumed superheros on the Strip, "porn slappers," making sure Metro PD officers all wear the same color underwear, and trash on the Strip.

    THIS is the type of important stuff the stupid County Commissioners are interested in.

    This health department nonsense and their concern for peoples' lives in Clark County? That's not in their list of priorities.

    People in Clark County are not their priority. Right now they are laser focused on the abject eyesore of the half built Echelon Place and how to dress it up like a huge flowerpot or something.

    People can laugh at what I'm typing, but all indications show it's the truth.

  2. Check out those immunization lines for free shots--few people there speak English. STOP freebies for illegals. If they need the shots to get the illegal students into "free" K-12, they can get the shots elsewhere. Stop providing libraries and free internet for illegals to phone home. Our kids need to use the libraries. START focusing on AMERICAN ADULTS who could rejoin the labor force if they got a little dental care so their teeth stop hurting, if they got a little health care so everything else stops hurting. If they could get some decent (but used) clothing. ENCOURAGE non-profits to focus on SUSTAINABLE giving--to those who can take a stop up and become self sufficient. All this focus on only those who create more of the same--more unwanted babies, more drug addicts, more criminals, more relatives illegally invading.

  3. Take a look at California's budget problems. We're going to wait around and follow California again? CUT COMPENSATION ACROSS THE BOARD now so we don't continue this downward spiral. Get compensation packages down to reasonable levels pronto. Public Servants have had 4-5 years to pay off their bills and modify their life styles. Whatever tax revenue is available needs to be PRIORITIZED based on PUBLIC NEEDS, not employee demands. Contracts have expired and been redone at even higher levels when we should have been cutting. So now, we must cut more than if we'd done the necessary things a few years ago.

  4. Well Lawrence and the County Commission had better WAKE UP. The lead in paragraph really UNDERSTATES the full extent of the duties performed by the SNHD. The Health District is responsible for the initial registration and yearly inspections of UST facilities (that is EVERY gas station in Clark County), they are responsible for yearly audits of hazardous materials users and hazardous waste generators (from your local golf course to any one of a myriad of hospitals, not to forget the all the quick stop lube and oil change facilities, ALL the manufacturing and light industrial facilities in the valley). They provide public records review (whereas some municipalities take weeks to process FOIAs), the health district does it the same week. That is in addition to public health administration, and the other tasks listed. They have now been moved out of the main Shadow Lane facility (due to structural defects), and have been assigned to different satellite office, all with only a minor disruption in the level of service.

    This organization keeps businesses in check and keeps bad things from getting into our food, air and water supply by vigilant inspections performed by qualified individuals. They are due a pay raise.

  5. All of the Years of Irresponsible Leadership and Poor Planning has come back to Haunt the Commissioners. Public Employees have every Right to a Union And Competitive Wages and Benefits suitable for their profession. One size does not fit all. When those wages and benefits far exceed private (or even other similar sized cities) then some hard cutbacks should be made to protect the interests of the Citizens.

    North Las Vegas has a Huge City Hall that could be rented and their government put in windowless trailers, since they don't realize where they are anyway.

  6. After their attack in upper muddy this department needs to be cut to the bone.

  7. There is a nice blank slate on Charleston & Maryland Parkway. It use to be a Supermarket many years ago. They should rent it out to the SNHD. Better yet, how about the SNHD sell licenses to smoke in public bars that have restaurants so it can raise money to keep them afloat.