Tonasket City Council approves hospital's CDBG Recovery Grant application

TONASKET – The Tonasket City Council approved North Valley Hospital’s Community Development Block Grant Recovery Grant Application during their regular meeting on Tuesday, June 9.

“We received information this funding would be available as part of federal stimulus funds which was not the case originally,” Warner Bartleson, NVH administrator, told the council. “In this process, the money comes from the federal stimulus funds which are targeted toward completion as quickly as possible. The grant funding will be used this year and then the money from the $11 million of voter-approved funds will be used next year.

“With this money, we will be able to finish the first floor. Right now, some parts won’t be finished. Also, the hospital district has committed to paying any expenses that are over funds, if there are any.”

The hospital district is requesting $786,000 through this grant. The application states in the project description that it is the “implementation and completion of Phase Two of the hospital expansion project to include Structural Steel, Roofing and Metal Studs. This three-phased project will expand the hospital by 21,000 square feet and will allow the hospital to add essential services in this rural community including orthopedic surgeries and infusion therapies.”

This application came to the Mayor Patrick Walter for signing on Saturday, which made some council members feel the process was rushed.

“I appreciate there was a fine timeline for this, but council must follow open meeting procedure,” Jean Ramsey, council member, said. “I’m not comfortable with this at all.”

When council member Joyce Fancher asked for clarification on whether Ramsey was uncomfortable with the application or with the process, Ramsey stated she was uncomfortable with being asked for consensus for the signing on Saturday.

“I support the hospital and think expansion will only benefit the community, but we have to follow due process,” Jill Vugteveen, council member, said. “I want time to look at all of the information.”

Walter then told the council that the purpose of the discussion that evening was to approve or deny the application and then later, if the application is approved, the council will look at the grant again and decide then whether or not to accept the funds. After this statement, Fancher moved to approve the application, Council member Julianna Griffin seconded and only Ramsey voted against approving the application.

The City of Tonasket is being asked to serve in an administrative capacity for the funds and Bartleson said money to pay the city for its costs in administrating the funds was built into the grant.

The council then set Tuesday, July 14 as the date for the public hearing for the six-year Transportation Plan. The council also set July 14 as the date to open bids for publishing the city’s legal notices.

The next city council meeting will be on Tuesday, June 23.