City business plan approved, minus health care wording

Health Department Director Rex Archer.

Health Department Director Rex Archer testifying before the city’s Neighborhoods and Public Safety Committee.

City programs for neighborhoods could get up to $500,000 more a year, and controversial health care wording was eliminated.

Those were part of a five-year city business plan approved Thursday by the city council.

Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner said the plan calls for the extra money for neighborhoods beginning in 2017, but that could change.

At least, he said, “We wanted to make it clear our desire was to do more for our citizens as well as more for our neighborhoods.”

Wagner is among few returning members from the last city council, which approved changing the city charter to require the 5-year plan.

Changes can be plugged into it as the annual city budget is shaped and the long plan can be officially changed each year, but people can see the likely results.

As for the health care issue, that involved an effort by the city health director to make taxpayer-funded groups who provide health care for the poor  provide more preventive care.

Organizations like Truman Medical Center and Children’s Mercy Hospital raised concerns that change would pit medical care and prevention against each other for scarce city dollars.

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