SWEETWATER COUNTY — Newly formed Eden Valley Rural Healthcare District received $10,000 in start-up funds from the Sweetwater County Commission on Tuesday.
The chairman of the healthcare district, Ron Noble, approached the commission to ask for the funds, expecting that the district would pay back the money after revenue begins to roll in after November. However, Commissioner Jeffrey Smith proposed that the commission provide the funds with a grant rather than a loan.
“Chairman, is there a reason we can’t just give the district the $10,000 without expectation of repayment?” Smith asked Commission Chairman Wally Johnson. He pointing out that the formation of the district will save the county money in the long run and support county residents in the Farson-Eden area.
Johnson noted the commission prefers to grant money to organizations that have already been allocated funding during the budgeting process, though he, too, shared Smiths sentiment for aiding county residents in the area.
Johnson proceeded to get opinions from the commission’s legal and financial counsel, who all noted it was possible and at the discretion of the commission.
“It would be pretty remarkable if it could happen. I understand it’s the taxpayers paying the bill on that,” Noble said. He added that initially the district board members intended to use personal funds to get the facility underway and refund the costs to individuals after receiving revenue, provided they kept good records and receipts. Legal counsel urged the board members to look to the commission for help because paying themselves back was not entirely ethical.
Johnson explained that creating a budget amendment granting the funds would be quicker than preparing a memorandum of understanding to loan the district its funds.
Smith made the motion to proceed with a budget amendment at the next commission meeting. Commissioner Roy Lloyd seconded, and the vote passed unanimously. Commissioner Don Van Matre was absent Tuesday.