In officials' quest to tighten the city's budget, Detroit may become the first U.S. metropolis to convert its health department to a public institute, the Detroit Free Press reports.
A plan to discuss the Bing Administration's proposal with City Council was set for Thursday but pushed back to next week. It calls for an institute that would be funded with government and foundation grants, similar to the current Health Department funding formula, but would not receive city money. Detroit spent $10 million in general fund dollars on the Health Department last year.
According to the Detroit News, the department currently administers about $80 million.
Dismantling the Department of Health and Wellness Promotion is one of the many measures officials are considering as they work to balance the city's budget under the new consent agreement. In addition to pay cuts and extensive layoffs, Mayor Dave Bing's budget plan proposes dissolving or consolidating departments including the Airport, Workforce, Human Rights and corruption-riddled Human Services departments.
Last week, MLive reported the Coleman A. Young airport could not close under federal regulation, and according to TV20, Bing was in talks with a private company to take over operations and restore passenger service. The Human Rights Department is protected under the city charter, and cannot be merged with the Law Department, as the administration hoped.
The Department of Health and Wellness Promotion is still ripe for outsourcing, however. The department carries out critical health programs like immunizations and HIV testing, serving more than 200,000 people yearly.
For more, see the Free Press.