Counties want more details on health district plan | NevadaAppeal.com

Counties want more details on health district plan

Dave Frank
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer

Counties that could be part of a regional public health district with Carson City say they want more information before endorsing the idea.

Carson City approved a bill last week that would allow one or more counties to form a regional board to govern public health. The city would work to form a district with Douglas, Storey and Lyon counties if the Legislature approves the bill.

The district would manage all public health services not covered by the state in the four counties. Any resident could use any of the services in any of the counties.

The district would have the power to raise sales taxes a quarter of a cent and property taxes 15 cents for every $100 of assessed value. Taxes would be raised evenly in the four counties.

Nancy McDermid, chairwoman of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners, said the county supports the bill, but wants more details.

“We would not jump in and take everything on,” she said. “We would go in very slowly and cautiously to ensure we can do it.”

The four-county health district would have advantages for Douglas County, McDermid said. Services the state does now like restaurant inspections, inoculations and mental health treatment would be better done by a local district, she said.

One of the main reasons for the health district would be to have more local control over mental health clinics, Carson City supervisors have said.

Bob Kershaw, vice-chairman of the Storey County Board of Commissioners, said the county is “definitely interested” in the regional health district.

It is something the county has talked about for several years, he said. The county would have to see how much the plan would cost before it committed, however, he said.

He called the bill “a step in the right direction,” and said he is glad Carson City has taken a lead on it.

Dennis Stark, Lyon County Manager, said he would like to see more discussion and details about the regional district.

He said he has a “neutral position” on the district, but it could be a good idea that would give local governments more control.

Carson Mayor Bob Crowell said the regional district would work best with all four counties. He said he’d have to think about whether the plan could work without one of the counties.

“If one county goes down and doesn’t participate, it detracts from the efficiency of the proposal,” he said.

– Contact reporter Dave Frank at dfrank@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.