Routt County will loan South Routt Medical $55K |

Routt County will loan South Routt Medical $55K

South Routt Medical Center in Oak Creek.
Teresa Ristow

— Routt County will loan the South Routt Medical Center Health Services District about $55,000 to cover delayed revenue related to the Peabody Energy bankruptcy filing.

South Routt Medical Center District manager Ken Rogers Tuesday spoke with the Routt County Board of Commissioners, saying that ideally the medical center would have had the money already to keep up with costs.

Commissioner Cari Hermancinski reminded Rogers that a federal bankruptcy court Wednesday is expected to rule on Peabody’s request to pay its taxes, and she asked Rogers whether the medical center would still be asking for a loan if the money were to be coming within a couple of months.

Rogers said the medical center was in need of the money “yesterday,” indicating they couldn’t wait another 60 days for the funds.

The commissioners agreed to allow County Attorney Erick Knaus to work with Rogers and Routt County Finance Director Dan Strnad to confirm the exact amount of taxes owed to the Health Services District and sign off on a promissory note to get the money to the district.

The county would be allowed to collect the interest that Peabody will have to pay on the overdue taxes, an amount of 1 percent per month, or 12 percent per year.

“We’ll collect the interest, since we’re fronting the funds,” Hermancinski said.

Apart from the loan, the medical center will still be facing a tight budget year, something the Health Services District board is working with an advisory committee to remedy.

“It’s a stop-gap solution,” Commissioner Tim Corrigan said of the $55,000 loan. “We’re all aware that the South Routt Medical Center has ongoing financial challenges.”

The delayed tax revenue owed to Routt County and seven other entities could be paid up soon, depending on the outcome of Wednesday’s federal court hearing.

As of a July 13 deadline, no one had opposed Peabody’s motion to be allowed to pay the taxes, leaving Routt County Treasurer Brita Horn hopeful the request would be granted.

“Unless something really unusual happens, the bankruptcy court should grant Peabody authority to pay all of its pre-petition property taxes on Wednesday, July 20,” Horn said in a statement Tuesday. “If all goes as anticipated, Peabody should pay its 2015 property taxes to Routt County shortly.”

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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