LUBBOCK, Texas — Lubbock County Commissioners on Monday approved a “body storage” fee of $75 per day after a body has remained in the Lubbock County Medical Examiner’s Office morgue more than five days.

Commissioners were told, “As it stands now, we’ve been overwhelmed.” The goal is by charging a fee after a certain amount of time, local facilities or families will move more quickly to move a body out of the LCME.

Generally speaking, the county would not send a bill to families, commissioners were told.

The policy as of February 1 is as follows: “The party who has requested LCME to hold remains are responsible for coordinating the disposition of the remains with the appropriate party, whether that be with the legal next of kin, funeral home, etc. LCME will only be responsible for holding the remains and ensuring the Release of Remains form is completed correctly.”

The fee starts on days six including weekends and holidays.

The fee does not apply to cases where a body is held for the District Attorney or other law enforcement. County Judge Curtis Parrish suggested maybe delaying the proposal to ensure the auditor and treasurer are ready and so on.

Parrish agreed with the policy but just wanted more time. But other commissioners wanted to go forward without delay. The vote was 4 – 1.

Commissioners also approved an expenditure of up to $10 million for a new facility to house the office of Lubbock County Medical Examiner.

The next step is to issue a Request for Qualifications and Construction Manager at Risk. Those steps basically will assess the needs. Commissioners will have a better idea of how big the facility needs to be and how much it will cost once the RFQ and CRAM steps are complete.