Rifle council endorses hospital bonds | PostIndependent.com

Rifle council endorses hospital bonds

With the conclusion of voting days away, Rifle City Council publicly supported Grand River Hospital’s bond measure.

Members of the election advocacy group Keep Care Local on Wednesday gave a brief presentation on the project, which would see the community’s 50-year old nursing home rebuilt and hospital expanded. After a brief discussion, five of the seven council members voted to support the project.

Council member Annick Pruett recused herself from the hearing because she is the community relations director for Grand River Health, and though council member Sean Strode threw his support for the project during the Rifle City Council election forum in August, he did not think it was his role is to tell voters how to vote.

The bond measure, Ballot Issue 4A, asks voters to authorize issuing $89.4 million in bonds to pay for a new care center and hospital expansion.

The estimated tax impact of the proposed $89.4 million bond measure would be $2.83 per month per $100,000 of a home’s assessed value. The term of the bond would be 20 years, with the repayment plus interest totaling $154 million. The supporting mill levy would cease to exist once the bond is paid.

Mayor Barbara Clifton said that the resolution ended up on Wednesday’s agenda after a Rifle resident approached her and pushed for it. Clifton, who was appointed Rifle’s mayor in September, acknowledged that the timing of the council’s support could have been better since ballots were mailed out on Oct. 15.

City attorney Jim Neu told council that the project is a “really good thing for the city and community,” and Council member Joe Carpenter endorsed the project because it is “best for the town and community as a whole.”

Supporters say the bond measure would protect 86 jobs at E. Dene Moore Care Center, double the capacity for patients there and address critical improvements to the hospital, including additional ICU beds, more inpatient rooms, cancer support and more, according to information from Keep Care Local.

City Council’s public support comes days after the Rifle Chamber of Commerce questioned why the project did not include a local preference policy on contracting.

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