County Commissioners OK $220,000 loan to rehab facility

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Millard County commissioners voted to loan $220,000 to Millard Care & Rehabilitation in Delta during Tuesday’s regular commission meeting.

Byron Kroeger, the facility’s administrator, said the funding was being sought to cover the facility’s bills until the end of the year.

“To do that, we are looking for $220,000 as a short-term loan so that we can save penalties and other issues by paying before the end of the year. We anticipate getting money to pay that in the first quarter of 2019,” Kroeger told commissioners.

He added that he was willing to sign a promissory note on the loan.

County Attorney Patrick Finlinson said he had some concerns about making the loan directly to the health facility’s operator, Traditions Health Care, since it is a private company. He said the best way to make the loan would be through the appointed board that oversees operations at the county-owned facility.

“Our funding would probably be from the county to the board,” Finlinson said, adding that Kroeger could then receive funding from the board instead of directly from the county.

Tony Dearden, the board’s chairman, however, said his board would not sign a promissory note. He said Traditions would be repaying the loan, not the board, so the promissory note should be with Kroeger.

Finlinson said he disagreed with that.

“There’s a reason we have Millard County Care and Rehab and they have a board,” he said. “That’s, number one, I think is to insulate the county revenue from general liabilities. But number two, I think is to insulate the county from (the facility’s) contractual liabilities. That’s why the county’s dealings are with the board, with Millard County Care and Rehab. And then Millard County Care and Rehab’s contract is with Traditions, not with us.”

Ultimately, Finlinson said it was up to commissioners how they made the loan.

Commissioner Dean Draper explained during the discussion that the care facility was deemed a necessity for the county to care for older residents.

“The county has been involved with it ever since it was created. At this time they find themselves in a financial situation where if they can make payment by December 30th, they’ll save almost as much as they would have to pay in penalties,” he said.

Kroeger and Draper both said a land sale is being undertaken by the facility’s owner, the closing of which will go toward paying back the loan and strengthening the facility’s finances.

Draper said the county has made loans to the rehabilitation center in the past, including a $400,000 loan a few years ago.

“Millard County is not going into the banking business. This is because this particular facility is tied to the county.”

In other business, commissioners honored Jim Withers for eight years of service on the board. Tuesday’s meeting was his last as a commissioner. Evelyn Warnick won election to his seat in November. She will join the board in January.

Commission Chair Wayne Jackson presented Withers with two plaques, one from the board and another from the Six-County Association of Governments, in appreciation for his service.

“I appreciate the last eight years. To Dean and Pat’s, to both of their notes, the friendships I’ve gained and the opportunity to work with the commissioners and all our county employees, I’m grateful for that,” Withers said.

During the meeting, commissioners voted on a number of items:

— KJ Plumbing and Heating was awarded a $234,680 bid to replace the air handler at the West Millard County Swimming Pool, also awarded was an additional $3,500 for labor costs.

— Commissioners moved $500,000 from the General Fund to the Capital Fund during a budget hearing to amend the 2018 county budget. The money will go toward replenishing the Capital Fund after spending on capital needs in 2018.

— A conditional business license was approved for Fill-More- Paws Training Center LLC, a business that will specialize in training service animals. The license was approved on condition that the business meet all requirements outlined in the county codes involving kennels and similar type businesses.

— Bids were unsealed for the purchase of up to five new trucks for the sheriff’s department. The department will return at a later date once officials there determine which is the best offer.

— Commissioners adopted a final budget for 2019. The final budget will contain a 3-percent cost of living increase for county employees. Draper said that an oversight in the public notice regarding the pay increase meant that the increase will not be applied to elected officials’ pay. Commissioners will return at a later meeting to address the oversight.

“State law requires that we have a separate public meeting when we increase the salaries of elected public officials, and we did not have that,” Draper said.

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