Mayor Tom Leppert is asking Dallas County Commissioners to support a plan that would have Dallas County take over the city's clinic duties, along with adding a vehicle registration fee to replace the city's funding for school crossing guards.
Leppert met individually with several commissioners Monday at the County Health and Human Services building on Stemmons Freeway to talk about solving budget issues. The city has been struggling to solve a $190 million budget shortfall while the county has whittled down a $60 million shortfall.
“We’re all in this together and we’ll work together and fashion whatever works out best for the citizens of Dallas and Dallas County,” said Commissioner Mike Cantrell.
The clinic plan would close the city’s four health clinics, which provide immunizations for children.
Some parents at the Oak Cliff clinic located at 300 N. Ewing said they are upset about the plan and expressed concern about the cost of getting immunizations elsewhere.
“If the city closes the clinic, it makes the people in the community suffer,” said Andree Wilson.
Dallas County Judge Jim Foster said the county would take over the state grants the city receives to provide the service and offer the same low cost to patients.
“I think you may have less clinics, but you’ll provide the same service,” said Foster.
County Commissioners will receive a briefing Tuesday from the county health director on assuming the city clinic duties.
But Foster is opposed to Leppert’s request for a county vehicle registration fee to pay for school crossing guards.
“I’m not comfortable with it, I was opposed to it last year, I’m opposed to it again this year,” Foster said.
The County Judge said helping Dallas with a new tax would be unfair to the other cities in Dallas County and Foster said school districts should provide their own crossing guards.
Cantrell said state lawmakers set up this funding method, which requires county cooperation.
“I think it would be prudent to really look at the overall plan and see what we can put on the table,” Cantrell said.
Mayor Tom Leppert said the city must re-examine all of its programs.
“Difficult economies force you ask those questions, but it’s the right question to ask in any environment," Leppert said.