The future of Granite Falls medical care appears that it will be located within the industrial park––it’s just a question of when.
On Monday, Granite Falls council members authorized the execution of a purchase agreement between the city and the Granite Falls Hospital and Manor for 41.7 acres of industrial park property at a rate of $2,000 per acre, or $83,400 in sum.
The hospital is looking to purchase the land to accommodate, in the immediate future, a planned 48-bed nursing home and, eventually, replacement medical facilities for the hospital and clinic.
The hospital began exploring potential sites for the new nursing home after a Master Facilities Plan completed last year concluded that the present hospital campus would not provide adequate space to build a modern one-story nursing home facility.
The search was eventually narrowed down to two possible sites that aside from the industrial park included farm land adjacent to Granite Ridge Place. In the end present agricultural land values proved cost prohibitive and the hospital board made the industrial park property its choice.
Originally, the EDA proposed a sale price of $5,000 per acre, but after a series offers and counter-offers, settled on $2,000.
While the closing date on the industrial property purchase agreement will occur on or before December 19, the timeline for the new nursing home is still very much up in the air.
According hospital CEO and Administrator George Gerlach, the hospital is presently preparing an application to the state for a moratorium exception, which would serve to serve to improve the projects cost-feasibility and bump up the expected construction date.
The application for the moratorium exception is due to the State by December 3, with successful applicants expected to be notified of their approval in March.
In other news:
•A delayed completion date for the new water treatment facility from the beginning of December to the end of May, made it necessary for the council to call for the sale of $1.82 in General Obligation Temporary Water Revenue Bonds at its November 5 meeting.
On Monday, Todd Hagen of the city’s bond consultants, Ehlers and Associates, was on hand to discuss the results and a low bid of .07563 percent interest from United Bankers Bank, of Bloomington subsequently gained council approval.
The sale was required to pay off an existing temporary bond issue approved in 2009 to provide interim financeing for the Water Treatment Plant because of the bond’s December 1 maturity, which now falls before the projects expected completion date.
Once the plant is completed, the city will be able to use a Rural Development loan to pay off the temporary issue. Any interest accrued will be eligible for reimbursement through Rural Development financing.
Page 2 of 2 - •At the recommendation of the Granite Falls Fire Department, council members adopted a resolution to join the Statewide Volunteer Firefighter Retirement Plan, as administered by the Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA).
Given a cost analysis that projects higher benefits for fire department and significantly reduced expense for the city, City Manager Bill Lavin called the decision a” no brainer.”
At present, the city is expecting to make a 2013 municipal contribution to the retirement of $27,139. Under the new plan, the required municipal contribution would equal an estimated $9,294 for 2014.
•In accord with a recommendation from the Granite Falls EDA, council members approved an adjustment to EDA loan payments Cutting Edge Industrial Technologies (CEIT) owner, Jeff Muhl.
According to council information, back in April of 2010 CEIT was the recipient of a $100,000 EDA loan and $100,000 federal loan that at three percent carries an amortized monthly repayment figure of $1,955.64.
In 2010 conditions were established for the loan that gradually increased the size of the payment from zero dollars during the first six months loan, to monthly payments of $1,000 payments that have been honored the past 11 months.
New terms approved by the council will up the payments from 1,000 to $1,500 beginning next and month and carrying over for a full year. Thereafter, Muhl would be responsible for the full amortized sum.