Report on Establishing a Health Department
City Council heard two presentations on the feasibility of creating a health department for the City of Lee’s Summit. In the first presentation, City Attorney Brian Head reported that City Council does have the legal authority to form a health department. Currently, there are 114 local health authorities in Missouri. However, only five are managed by cities (St. Louis, St. Joseph, Independence, Joplin and Kansas City). Mr. Head reviewed the possible options available to the City for funding a health department, including the use of property and sales tax revenues – noting that any increase in taxes would require voter approval. The current public health levy collected is 20 cents per $100 of assessed property value ($4.8 million), which is received by Jackson County to provide health department services.
The second presentation by consultant Baker Tilly, provided a comparative analysis of independent health departments in Missouri. Program budgets, funding, administration and a high-level summary of potential services provided by the five cities in Missouri (communicable diseases, environmental health and community health) were reviewed.
To help in further discussions on the feasibility of forming a Lee’s Summit health department, City staff will work with Jackson County to obtain data on current health department services utilized by Lee’s Summit residents and the associated costs. Staff will explore the possibility of reassigning the tax revenues used to support the Jackson County Health Department to the City if a health department were to be formed. Cities outside of Missouri with health departments and similar demographics, will be examined to get a bigger picture regarding service delivery costs. Staff will also gauge interest from cities in the region on combining efforts to provide health department services.
Update on 2020 City Council Redistricting
City Council was presented with a revised scenario for City Council redistricting based on the 2020 Census population numbers and feedback received from councilmembers at the September 7 council meeting. The scenario yields a maximum deviation from the optimum of 7.3% between District 3 and District 4. This constitutes a minor deviation in apportionment and is under the maximum population deviation threshold of 10%.
The City Charter requires council district boundaries be established following each decennial census, that the districts comprise compact and contiguous territory, and as nearly possible, an equal number of inhabitants. A public hearing on the final council redistricting recommendation will be held at the September 21 City Council meeting.