Yeah it has been awhile since my last blog. Been things to blog about, but been busy. However I would like to share some thoughts about the recent activity with the Milam County Health Department. Been a lot going on.
First of all the Judge’s report of March 30th on the Milam County website is not exactly correct. The Commissioners did not vote to turn the Health Department over to Region 7. On the Milam County website his March 30th article states, “In another move to reduce costs, at Monday’s regular meeting of Commissioner’s Court we voted to have Region 7 of the Texas Department of State Health Services take over the operation of the Milam County Health Department.” They in fact tabled the motion to the next meeting where the court voted 3 to 2 to keep the Health Department as is.
I do have to add that the article printed in the local papers was corrected to say the issue was tabled. I wonder why the article on the website says something different?
Commissioners Fisher, Muegge, and Shuffield voted for keeping the department, and Watkins and the Judge voted against. Muegge stated he had talked to a lot of his constituents and that they were in favor of keeping the department as is. The other two yes votes said pretty much the same.
If you had attended the meetings leading up to the vote at the last court meeting you would have seen there was a definite push by the Judge and current Health Department Interim Director Mary Beth Sexton to move the department to the control of Region 7. Previous workshops on moving the department had many uncertainties mentioned. Every time Region 7 representatives were asked a question the answer was qualified by an if, a maybe, contingent upon or other qualifying lead in that left the average person understanding that there was no definitive answer.
With all the uncertainty about the move three Commissioners should be congratulated on their votes. The fact is that if the doom and gloom theory of Luminant’s demise does come to pass Region 7 will be required by law to take over the department anyway. So why the rush? Could there be an alternative motive?
Other questions were also raised during the meetings. Just how much would the cutting of the department save? Several amounts were mentioned during the meetings including $162,000, $167,000, and at last report the Judge told the media the savings would be $200,000. What’s the real savings?
Taking into account any of the savings you would have to subtract the income generated from the Health Department’s activities. 2015 ending year reports showed an income of over $99,000 for the department, but never once during the meetings was this information shared with the Commissioners.
It is true that we do not know what the future holds, and yes Luminant could win the law suit, but I truly believe that there will be an agreement reached that allows the county to collect a majority of the remaining taxes Luminant owes for this year. That being said, even if they do win and Milam County comes up the two million short the Judge keeps mentioning and cuts have to be made Region 7 will still take over the Health Department responsibilities.
That however, will only cover a part of the numerous cuts that will have to be made if Luminant wins. So even if Luminant does win cuts will have to be made but we will still have a Health Department, or some semblance of what we have now.