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Health district split update: City manager says target date is for Tuesday, Jan 18

While City Manager Peter Zanoni indicates that a quick agreement would give the city operational control on March 1, County Judge Barbara Canales disagrees.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Right now, the City Manager said that backed by the approval of the City Council, Corpus Christi is still on target to withdraw from the Health District next Tuesday, January 18.

At that point, a separate City Health Department would be set up.

"Today, we know the business model is one where it's 50/50 or 60/40, where both the city and the county run it," Zanoni said. "But we've said it many times before that when two entities or two people are in charge, generally nobody's in charge."

However, another proposal by Nueces County Commissioners has recently been the subject of negotiations between the City and the County.

In it, the City assumes full control of the current Public Health District and its employees. The County would then buy services from the City in order to ensure that needs continue to be met in some of the smaller or unincorporated areas.

City Council members went into Executive Session today to review the new model. County Commissioners will meet tomorrow to review the plan.

The hitch, however, is in the timing.

While Zanoni indicates that a quick agreement would give the city operational control on March 1, County Judge Barbara Canales disagrees.

"He misinterpreted and misinformed the health employees when he said that the court had voted on March 1 to basically make that the effective date. That's not what we did," Canales said.

In her view, the County was simply looking to get the City to move off of next week's deadline and extend discussions.

"Let us focus on this public health emergency and let's kick the can down the road to March 1," Canales said. "All the while, we're going to continue moving toward the goals you want and that you have espoused."

Peter Zanoni has promised another video update on Friday. What's in it will depend in large part on what happens in Wednesday's County Commissioners meeting.

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