Not a ‘yes,’ not a ‘no’


Councils move cautiously to help health care district

Members of the Sublette

County Rural Health Care District Board

formally asked the Pinedale Town Council

to sell its ball fields adjacent to the current

Pinedale Clinic for a proposed critical access

hospital.

Council members agreed to move forward

getting assessments on possible replacement

sites, but cautiously refused to

make any commitments during the July 8

council meeting. Mayor Matt Murdock and

council members Judi Boyce, John Paravi-

cini, Tyler Swafford and Dean Loftus were

in attendance. Also in attendance were

Sublette County Rural Health Care District

Administrative Director Dave Doorn, board

Chairman Wendy Boman and board members

Bill Johnson and Mike Pompy. Sublette

County Commissioners Tom Noble

and Doug Vickrey were also in attendance.

Murdock said selling the ball fields is

the direction the council wants to go but the

plan is to negotiate to have “like or better

facilities.” The council also wants to move

quickly so the town doesn’t go a season

without ball fields.

Paravicini said he wanted to invest in the

future critical access hospital but he wanted

to weigh what is best for the citizens and not

let the community take a hit on the millions

already invested in the existing ball fields.

Swafford agreed, saying he wanted something

on paper. However, he agreed he felt

better committing the fields with the county

commission, Sublette Center and all three

communities on board. He added the town

has already committed $1 million and any

expense above that should be rolled into the

loan application to the U.S. Department of

Agriculture to compensate Pinedale for the

ball fields.

Initially, an assessment estimated replacing

the existing facilities would cost $1.8

million. The council left $1 million in the

proposed 2019-2020 fiscal year budget for

the hospital project. It was decided that any

costs for site assessments would be paid out

of that $1 million and any costs above the

$1 million would be included in the loan

application.

Doorn said the district didn’t need a commitment.

“Our goal is to just keep moving

forward. The ball fields are important to our

future plans.”

Loftus said he has done some research

and knows the facility will not be viable

without an operating room.

Doorn assured him the proposed facility

– still in the planning stages – will have an

operating room.

Municipal Attorney Ed Wood said rather

than moving forward, a site assessment of

potential new fields should be authorized.

The council authorized staff to identify

potential locations with enough acreage,

including properties that have been offered

for an inexpensive lease by Sublette County

School District No. 1.

The council voted to distribute a request

for proposal identifying the sites and getting

estimates from companies willing to

complete site assessments to compare the

different options for environmental factors

such as wetlands and also proposed costs to

install infrastructure.

Paravicini said, “Ultimately we want to

get as much bang for our buck as possible.”

The council voted unanimously to identify

locations and prepare a request for proposal.

The council designated Murdock and

Paravicini to represent the town going forward

and requested the county commissioners,

the Sublette Center, health care board

and the towns of Marbleton and Big Piney

designate two representatives each to start

working out details.

Doorn said he would arrange that type of

informal meeting.

Earlier in the evening, Marbleton’s Town

Council agreed to send a letter of support.

Mayor Jim Robinson said he had been to a

number of SC Rural Health Care District

board meetings over the years.

“I believe that it’s an integral part of this

process – county commissioners, RHCD

and the Sublette Center to come to an agreement.”

He asks “for this council to give a voice

of support” and noted how hard the people

on these volunteer boards have and are

working on county’s health care issues.

“It’s just good to get a letter of support,”

Robinson said.

Council member Roger McMannis said,

“They need all the help they can get.”

Robinson referred to the proposed

“closed door” talks, and asked that anyone

participating report back to the council.

Sam Bixler said Marbleton has asked to

come and sit in, but he is unaware when the

meetings will be scheduled.

McMannis added, “Not that we’re trying

to hide anything.” He made the motion

to write the letter of support and council

member BJ Meador seconded the motion.

The motion passed, 4-1, with Robinson and

council members Jeff McCormick, McMannis

and Meador in favor. Council member

Mack Bradley was not present.

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