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August 27, 2008 2:54 pm

Hospital addition doesn't ride on taxpayer backs

Written by Tribune Staff

The tall addition to Powell Valley Hospital looks handsome and smart as its nears completion in late summer 2008 — a little later than hoped for, but handsome and smart just the same
It may look even better with the realization that the medical facility is built without a levy on taxpayers.
True, there is nearly $3 million of public funds in the project, the fruits of successful application by the Powell Hospital District to the Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board. The hospital district had to compete with others for the life, health and safety grant money.
That's in keeping with the self-help nature of the project. A few years back, the hospital board's master facility planning process determined that the only way to keep pace with growth in patient volumes was a capital building project to start addressing priority needs. At the top of the urgent needs list were consolidation of patient treatment in one location and upgrading mechanical and electrical systems. The hospital board said, “Let's get on with it.”
Hospital trustees added one caveat: “We're not going to the taxpayers with a bond issue.”
Their objective had an $8.2-million price tag. They convinced the State Loan and Investment Board of the worthiness of the project to cover more than a third of the cost, and then tackled the rest. The hospital itself and Powell Valley Healthcare, which operates the district facilities, committed $1.5 million from internal cash reserves.
Then, much like any other business would do, the hospital enterprise turned to the financial marketplace to borrow up to $4 million from a local bank. And finally, the Powell Medical Foundation helped to coordinate a local fundraising campaign to come up with another $500,000 from donors with an interest in better healthcare facilities in the community.
It's important to note that the $4 million in borrowing will be repaid with hospital operating revenues and not out of hospital district tax receipts. The new building's physician offices will provide for more doctors, dispensing more medical services, and that's the key to retiring the obligation.
All the pieces fit together, and no one will see a bump in their tax bill. Thank a hospital board member for that.