PINEDALE – Sublette County commissioners reviewed the appraisal report Tuesday for the Pinedale Medical Clinic, old clinic and ambulance barn, and then offered to sell it to the Sublette County Rural Health Care District Board at a 60-percent discount.
Afterward at a special meeting, the RHCD voted to take the offer “under consideration” until its design team can assess the clinic site “for the CAH as presently planned and as required for certification.”
The preapproved “test-fit” assessment by Sletten Construction, quoted at $16,540, could be done for the board’s June 20 regular meeting
Valbridge Property Advisors provided commissioners with a 120-page report with two market values – one at $10,550,000 and the other at $10,461,214 – based on different approaches, according to Commissioner Dr. David Burnett.
“Based on working cooperatively with the health care district and (U.S. Department of Agriculture) in trying to make available the Pinedale Clinic property, we the county commissioners offer this property at 40 percent – $4,223,000,” Burnett proposed.
The 60-percent discount is an “in-kind gesture,” he added.
Commissioners requested the appraisal after deciding they would consider selling the 4.4-acre Pinedale property to the RHCD for the CAH. USDA’s Wyoming rural development director Lorraine Werner had asked them about that option and commissioners agreed to look into it.
“The commissioners have been maligned in the past for not participating,” Burnett said. “I think we’re sincerely trying to make an attempt to move forward with this sale.”
Chairman Andy Noble noted a couple of concerns. “I think a guarantee the CAH would be built on that site would be one caveat.”
Commissioner Mack Rawhouser said his concern is about the Marbleton-Big Piney Medical Clinic’s future. “I think we need a caveat that building’s going to stay open.”
“My concern at this time at this lower value we would retain first right of refusal
(if RHCD decided to sell the property),” said Commissioner Tom Noble.
Commissioner Joel Bousman spoke next. “It appears we’re looking at a $4.2 million sales price and approximately $6 million is donated to the cause. I would want to reserve the net proceeds to the county for future health needs – assisted living would be totally appropriate to that use.”
Bousman also asked if the USDA needed to demolish the old clinic, where the county has its public health, veterans’ services and sanitarian offices, for the CAH. He wondered if one sale condition could be that the RHCD rehouse the offices.
“The involvement of the USDA is critical, absolutely critical, to this whole process moving forward successfully,” he added.
Burnett moved to offer the Pinedale Clinic property in a one-time offer for $4.2 million with “assurances the property will be used to build on that site a CAH.” The county would retain first right of refusal and would “strive to keep the Big Piney-Marbleton Clinic open.”
“Can we include keeping the offices there,” asked Nelson.
Burnett replied, “I don’t want to see that as a deal-breaker” by adding “too many caveats.”
Werner said, “I want everyone to be aware the CAH can’t be built (there) if the old building can’t be removed from the site. That has to be removed. I’m sure of that.”
She said she felt the Pinedale ballfields’ parking could alleviate that issue if “a moderate” CAH is built at the clinic site.
New Pinedale Town Councilmember John Paravacini, who also works in the Sublette County Assessor’s Office, reminded commissioners of a deed restriction on the property. When Pinedale signed it over to the county, one term is it must be used for health-care purposes.
“If it’s not used for a hospital, it reverts to the town,” he said. “If it’s no longer used, there is a deed restriction from the entity that owns it to the town. … You can’t turn around and rent it to a non-health-care facility.”
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the one-time sale price offer of $4.2 million to the RHCD.
Board member Wendy Boman asked if that meant that the county might rent it out to another health-care provider if the RHCD doesn’t buy it.
“I can give you a positive maybe,” Nelson said. “That’s what it sounds like.”
Immediately after, the Rural Health Care District board met to discuss the county’s offer and decide what action to take.
In the meantime, most of the board has focused on a 16-acre Bloomfield parcel owned by John Harber, near the Hampton Inn.
RHCD board chair Scott Scherbel related the county’s offer and opened discussion.
Board member Chuck Bacheller said their design team should look at the clinic property and see if it might work. “I don’t know that I’m prepared to make any decision.”
Fellow member John Godfrey said, “If we need to spend that money (for the test-fit assessment) we might be well advised to do it.”
Co-chairman Laura Clark said construction could affect patient care for a minimum of three months.
“I am very pleased with the offer from the commissioners,” said Boman. “I think it was a very generous offer. The ambulance barn is already there. … I think Pinedale could offer parking in conjunction with the ball fields. I think we’d be foolish to turn down that offer.”
She also noted the RHCD would not need to build assisted living on its proposed “campus” because the county would use sale proceeds for that.
Scherbel said keeping the ambulance barn and the existing clinic for administration leaves little ground “to make it usable as a hospital.”
“We spent a lot of time and money and what we learned doesn’t fit on this property,” he said.
Bacheller said before any other sites are discussed, “We need to explore the current clinic site before we say yes or no to either today.”
Votes were unanimous to place the county offer under consideration and to proceed with the test-fit assessment.