South Routt votes ‘yes’ to protect future of medical center |

South Routt votes ‘yes’ to protect future of medical center

South Routt Medical Center in Oak Creek.
Teresa Ristow

— South Routt voters turned out Tuesday with healthy support for a near-doubling of the mill levy override supporting the South Routt Medical Center in Oak Creek.

As of Routt County returns released at 10 p.m. Tuesday, the increased mill levy had the support of 59 percent of voters, or 890 residents, versus 41 percent of voters, or 614 residents, opposed to the increase.

The increased mill levy is projected to provide an additional $185,000 in annual revenue for the center, which has struggled to remain financially stable.

“I think this shows very resounding support for the clinic. It just indicates how much the clinic is a valuable service to the community of South Routt,” said Ken Rogers, South Routt Health Services District manager. “They just don’t want to see it go away.”

The tax increase, which will cost residents an additional $18 annually per $100,000 of assessed residential property value, will help the health services district avoid serious cuts it otherwise would have faced.

Rogers said the center will have to squeak by financially until the new funding comes in, but the increased mill levy would help the district build up a reserve fund and find financially stability for 10 to 15 years into the future.

“The way we came up that number for the mill levy was to simply run out a five, 10, 15-year projection and see what it would take to keep the doors open, and then begin planning on capital expenditures and expanded services,” Rogers said. “I think this will really help some of our long-term funding challenges for the clinic.”

The center has been operating on such a tight budget this year that it was forced to borrow $55,000 from Routt County to cover a delayed tax payment from Peabody in July.

South Routt Medical’s initial mill levy was approved by voters in 2011, but over time, it wasn’t enough to fund the center’s current level of services and debt.

The center accepts Medicaid and provides medical services and some limited dental services for patients not just from Oak Creek, but from all over Routt County.

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

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