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Health district split delayed, County Commissioners agree to 30 day extension

The plan that both groups are looking at would have the City assuming operational control of the Public Health District and it's employees.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It looks like the possible parting of ways between the City of Corpus Christi and Nueces County over the Public Health District has been put on hold for the moment. 

City Manager Peter Zanoni said on Monday that the City is fully prepared to separate from the County and start it's own Public Health District. However, new developments appear to have delayed that plan. 

The target day for the City's withdrawal from the heath district had initially been set for next Tuesday, Jan 18. Facing that deadline set by the City, County Commissioners have continually asked for more time before any final decision is reached. 

Yesterday the city council agreed. 

Following an executive session that lasted well into the night, council members offered a 30 day extension so that talks may continue. Earlier Wednesday, County Commissioners also agreed to that extension. The plan that both groups are looking at would have the City assuming operational control of the Public Health District and it's employees. The County would then buy services from the City in order to ensue that needs continue to be met in some of the smaller or unincorporated areas. 

Councilman Roland Barrera said that streamlining the agency is something that needs to happen.

"I feel for those employees that really don’t know who their boss is," Barrera said. "So I think at this point, if we recognize that we’re going to be the ones in charge, that we could probably operate much more efficiently as just one agency, versus the two trying to work together."

County Judge Barbara Canales said there is still too much that needs to be defined. She believes the plan is missing many of the details that it would need for her to be on board.  

"My problem is that it lacks specifics," Canales said. "How many times have we said, ‘You’ve got to read the fine print?’ Well, at least in the fine print, it’s listed. In this framework, there’s no detail."

The judges primary concern centers on what she calls the protection of county employees and county grants. Should the City assume complete oversight of the Public Health District. 

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