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Trego hospital to talk finances

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

WaKEENEY -- A series of town hall meetings to discuss the financial situation facing Trego County's hospital have been scheduled.

The first will be at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Western Cooperative Electric meeting room.

Additional sessions are scheduled for Jan. 7 and 10. Both of those meetings also will be at 7 p.m. at Western Co-op.

Trego County commissioners already have approved a resolution calling for $1.8 million in no-fund warrants to cover the Trego County-Lemke Memorial Hospital's cash shortfall through January 2014.

The money will be repaid through four years through a special levy that could be in excess of 8 mills, depending on the interest rate on the financing.

Nearly $600,000 of that shortfall is a result of an improper change in Medicare reimbursement, at least part of which was corrected.

The rest is expected to cover an ongoing deficit.

Trego County residents have 60 days from the publication of the resolution asking for the no-fund warrants to bring the issue to a vote.

Approximately 115 signatures would be needed.

The hospital, currently receiving slightly more than $200,000 from the county, also expects to ask for a sales tax to support the facility. A 1 percent sales tax has been suggested even though voters last year turned down a sales tax referendum by a 2-1 margin.