Casper City Council Defers Question on Health Department Funding
The Casper City Council was again visited by Casper-Natrona County Health Department director Anna Kinder to discuss whether or not to increase their funding for fiscal year 2022, and decided to defer the question on whether to increase funding.
At the city council meeting on April 27, Kinder had come to ask the council to increase the Health Department's funding from $540,000 to $650,000, and had been told to come back at the meeting on May 11 with more information.
Kinder returned at the May 11 meeting with the information that the council had requested, and while several members appreciated the time she took to give them what they requested, the council did not decide on whether they would approve a higher budget.
Instead, the council decided to wait until next weeks budget meeting, where they would be presented with the total city budget, in order to see how much funding would be available and whether or not there would be enough money to increase the Health Departments budget by $110,000.
Council member Amber Pollock also floated the idea of having the town of Mills, which has recently become a first class town, to help pay for some of the funding for the Health Department that the town of Casper may not have the money for.
Carter Napier, city manager for the council, said he does not believe there is enough money to increase the Health Departments funding to $650,000, but rather that there may be enough to increase it to $575,000, with an upper limit of $600,000.
One of the concerns Kinder outlined that they need the money for, is to address state mandated programs that the Health Department must cover.
One of those is maternity care, which Kinder said their budget covers gives them three nurses, which allows them to cover about 122 hours a year in caring for mother and child, what Kinder called a couplet.
However the state mandates that they cover 600 hours a year in care for a couplet, meaning the Health Department would need to have around 15 nurses just for maternity care.
Some members, like council member Steve Cathey, said he is concerned with expanding the size of the government if the city provides more funding to the Health Department.
Tia Hansuld, a member of the City-County Board of Health, said that a lot of the money spent by the Health Department goes into preventative care for things like diseases, which could spread to other members of the community if not treated.