New Renville County Hospital Decision 18 Jan 13

A decision on whether to go forward with a plan to build a new Renville County hospital facility could come in the next week or two.

The West Central Tribune reports Hospital Administrator Glenn Haugo told the county board this week that the Hospital Board will take up the issue January 22nd.

After that, the County Board has to make the final decision on whether to go forward.

The county commissioners expressed differing views, and did not commit to a date to make a decision.

The RC Hospital and Clinics is looking at financing a $22 million to $23 million project to develop a 62,000-square-foot facility at a site yet to be determined.

The hospital board is looking at financing the project with revenue bonds. Taxpayer-backed general obligation bonds would require a referendum. Obtaining financing through the United States Rural Development agency or a federal Housing and Urban Development program would require a lengthy process and would not allow construction this summer as hoped, according to Kurt Apfelbacher, vice president with Dougherty and Company, Minneapolis.

He told the commissioners that hospital revenues would retire the debt. County taxpayers would not be responsible for it.

Haugo urged the commissioners to consider the economic importance of the RC Hospital and Clinics system. In addition to the hospital in Olivia, the system has clinics in Olivia, Hector and Renville. It has more than 140 employees from throughout the county and an annual payroll of more than $7 million.

“ … If some business like that was coming into the county, you’d be bending over backwards to get them into play,’’ he said.