Letter to the Editor 2-22-13

Dear Editor,
Election day is Tuesday. We, the voters of Cloud County, have the chance to make a wise investment in the future of our community, a new hospital. The overall cost of 29.8 million dollars may seem staggering to any one of us as individuals, but given the current window of opportunity, if we tackle this project together, we can make it happen and see our county continue to prosper. Quality local health care benefits everyone, young and old alike.
 Several are saying that the old hospital is good enough. In fact, a recent letter suggests that for a mere 5 million dollars we can bring the building up to current standards. The truth is, a 2008 cost estimate (now five years old) shows 5.9 million dollars for installing a sprinkler system and correcting a few other deficiencies. These “fixes” don’t even begin to address other more costly changes such as updating the heating and cooling, new operating rooms, and a ground level easy access emergency room. Not only will these items be more expensive, some require adding significant square footage on the ground floor as the existing structure cannot be adequately modified due to load bearing supports. Our old building is solid, but functionally obsolete as a modern hospital.
When comparing a total remodel cost (plus new addition) of the old hospital vs. new construction cost, the comparison shows a difference of about two million dollars. If someone says that savings is worth pursuing the remodel route, we will still be faced with greater ongoing costs and operating inefficiencies in the updated facility.
 We have a history of attempting to save money and cut costs on our tax funded projects in Cloud County. Think back to the building addition at our college. More recently, the wind turbines ended up having to be lowered at a substantial additional cost. Possibly the most expensive and potentially dangerous cost cutting measures were those made to appease voters on the USD 333 elementary school. Back to the current hospital proposal, the current barrage of negative ads, letters and “scare” tactics quite honestly saddens me. But then, I realize, it’s just politics. It usually pays to do things right the first time, even if it costs a little more.
 Considering the ever important bottom line, what will a YES vote cost? the 3/4 cent sales tax on goods and services subject to such tax equates to 75 cents on every $100  spent. The median income in Cloud County is somewhere around $32,000. Of that, housing expense (whether mortgage payment or rent) is not subject to sales tax, and neither is a car payment, insurance premiums, etc. Let’s guesstimate that $20,000 might be spent on expenditures subject to sales tax. Our hypothetical household would spend $150 per year for a new hospital spread out over twelve months usually in pennies at a time.
 I have friends who for a variety of reasons choose to travel east, west, or north to utilize hospital care in neighboring counties. Each and every one of those counties has a property tax that supports their health care. Thanks to a century of health care provided and largely underwritten by the Sisters of St. Joseph, our county has never had a mill levy for health care. It is my opinion that this current proposal is the best chance we have of not having a property tax to support county health care in the future.
 Finally, remember that as a sales tax, some of this project will be funded by those passing through our community. This method of taxation spreads the cost over the broadest possible base, and everyone, including some nonresidents, will help share the load. For additional information, please visit: www.cloudcountyletsmakeithappen.com.
Vote YES on February 26. I know I will.
Sincerely,
Don Garlow

OPINIONS

Prairie Pondering

Nothing more to say . . .   Sometimes an obituary can become almost poetic, perhaps and especially if the paper is back home  country - “Scott served in the U.S. Army from 1959 to 1965. He was a member of the Baptist Church, a hard worker, a green thumb genius... [More]

Letter to the Editor 2-27-15

Dear Editor,  The letter written by David Norlin that appeared in the February 24th edition of the Blade-Empire is yet another example of anti-gun rhetoric espoused by individuals who have a far left political viewpoint. I think Professor Norlin should have followed his... [More]

More Opinions

NEWS

Commission commemorates CCCC anniversary

By Jessica LeDuc Blade Staff Writer  At a brief meeting Wednesday night, the Concordia City Commission signed a proclamation commemorating Cloud County Community College’s 50th anniversary. The College was founded on January 28, 1965, and began classes in February... [More]

CHS drama department will present 'Radium girls'

 Concordia High School drama department will present its Spring play, "Radium Girls," tonight, March 5, March 6 and 7 in the high school auditorium.  Written by D.W. Gregory, the play is based on a true story of several young women in the 1920s who attempted to sue... [More]

Courthouse 3-5-15

District Court CIVIL Dismissed: The case of State Bank of Kansas vs. PRP, LLC; Parba Madhu; and Prakash C. Patel, Leawood, has been dismissed without prejudice with cost taxed to plaintiff. Filed: The Citizens National Bank seeks a petition of declaratory judgment from Cody Lowman... [More]

More News

SPORTS

Coppoc signs with Cloud

P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } Concordia High School senior Jace Coppoc has signed to participate in track and field at Cloud County Community College. Limited by an injury during his senior season, Coppoc posted a best time of 1:58.57 in the 800-meter run. He ran 51.2 in the... [More]

Strait, Miller pick up wins in 4A state tournament

thumb

SALINA — Concordia’s Zach Strait and Cameron Miller picked up wins in the Class 4A state wrestling tournament Friday and Saturday at the Bicentennial Center. Strait, a freshman, went 2-2 in the 106-pound class. Miller, a junior making his third consecutive trip to... [More]

More Sports

Buy Photos