What’s a good 4-way break up for a $26 million medical expert’s facility? Some say not 25%.

Escambia County commissioners are questioning the relocation of the District 1 Medical Examiner’s Workplace to Santa Rosa County after the opposite counties within the district balked at an equal break up for the value of a brand new morgue.

The District 1 Medical Examiner’s Workplace serves the four-county space of Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties.

It presently operates in Pensacola out of a leased workplace at Ascension Sacred Coronary heart Hospital in a cramped 4,000-square-feet facility, in addition to workplace house on Airport Boulevard.

Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Deanna Oleske has advocated for a brand new facility since she was appointed to the job in 2020.

Dr. Deanna Oleske, District 1 chief medical examiner, gives statistics during the State of the Medical Examiner District presentation at the Santa Rosa County Administrative Center Board Room in Milton on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties are hashing out a fair cost split for a new Medical Examiner facility, which could cost up to $26 million.

Dr. Deanna Oleske, District 1 chief medical expert, provides statistics through the State of the Medical Examiner District presentation on the Santa Rosa County Administrative Heart Board Room in Milton on Tuesday, Might 3, 2022. Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties are hashing out a good value break up for a brand new Medical Examiner facility, which might value as much as $26 million.

The State Legislature has authorized a complete of $750,000 for a brand new facility, together with a $500,000 appropriation that Gov. Ron DeSantis authorized when he signed the newest state price range final week.

The four-county governments oversee the workplace by way of a nonprofit company known as District One Medical Examiner Assist Inc. or DOMES.

DOMES estimates the fee for a brand new morgue shall be as much as $26 million.

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Escambia County, as probably the most populated of the 4 counties, makes up greater than half of the instances the medical expert’s workplace handles. When DOMES was created within the wake of a authorized battle with the earlier medical expert, a verbal settlement was made that the medical expert’s workplace can be relocated to Santa Rosa County to offer a extra central geographic location for the workplace.

As a part of the settlement to relocate the ability, it was agreed Escambia County would pay much less to fund the operations of the workplace and the brand new facility to be funded with an equal 25% contribution from all 4 counties.

At the moment, funding for the workplace is break up based mostly on the caseload from every of the counties. DOMES is proposing an up to date method for the approaching yr that may have Escambia County pay 47% of the working value, Santa Rosa County pay 18%, Okaloosa County pay 25% and Walton County pay 10%.

Dr. Deanna Oleske, District 1 chief medical examiner, speaks during the State of the Medical Examiner District presentation at the Santa Rosa County Administrative Center Board Room in Milton on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties are hashing out a fair cost split for a new Medical Examiner facility, which could cost up to $26 million.

Dr. Deanna Oleske, District 1 chief medical expert, speaks through the State of the Medical Examiner District presentation on the Santa Rosa County Administrative Heart Board Room in Milton on Tuesday, Might 3, 2022. Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties are hashing out a good value break up for a brand new Medical Examiner facility, which might value as much as $26 million.

Escambia County Public Security Director Eric Gilmore, who has been representing the county on the DOMES board, instructed the fee on Thursday that initially the brand new workplace was going to be constructed at a Santa Rosa County commerce park with direct interstate entry.

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“After they have been going to place it within the commerce park, Santa Rosa was going to foot the invoice for the land and every little thing,” Gilmore stated. “That was going to be a part of their contribution to the ability is what will be. Since all that is modified, they’re taking a look at two items of property someplace alongside Avalon (Boulevard) near the interstate.”

As a part of the change, DOMES was requesting $500,000 from every county to assist fund the acquisition of the land, and the entire counties have dedicated to contributing the $500,000 to fund the land buy, in accordance with DOMES Director Dan Schebler, who texted Gilmore through the assembly.

Nevertheless, County Administrator Wes Moreno stated that his understanding is that to date Escambia County is the one one of many 4 counties to have dedicated funding to the brand new facility. There stays a query over cost-sharing for the development of the brand new facility.

County Lawyer Alison Rogers stated the “jap counties” have questioned the 25% break up for the development value.

Commissioner Robert Bender stated he’s tried floating a compromise proposal to different commissioners at a Florida Affiliation of Counties convention to have a break up of 30% every from Escambia and Okaloosa counties and 20% every from Santa Rosa and Walton counties.

“Walton was hell-bent on a ten to 12% quantity for the ability until we put it in DeFuniak (Springs),” Bender stated.

A majority of the fee agreed that if the opposite counties didn’t need to equitably share the fee for a brand new facility, the established order of conserving the operations in Escambia County can stay in place and that Bender’s compromise was the bottom they have been keen to go to separate the development value.

The dialogue Thursday was spurred by an $800,000 price range enhance request, which in flip was a results of the medical expert’s caseload greater than doubling since 2020.

If the request is authorized, the working price range of the workplace can be $5.6 million for the approaching yr.

A lot of the elevated case rely is attributable to fentanyl overdose deaths.

“So, let’s discuss fentanyl. I had a 454% enhance in fentanyl deaths in comparison with 2020. That is 300 folks. It is in all places,” Oleske stated throughout a presentation in Might. “Fentanyl is the commonest drug that we’re detecting in our deceased. It isn’t alcohol.”

Jim Little could be reached at [email protected] and 850-208-9827.

This text initially appeared on Pensacola Information Journal: Escambia questions relocation of Medical Examiner to Santa Rosa