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

  Thanksgiving remembered . . .  When the boss of the hen house, the oldest rooster and proud of it, sent his wake up call out into the  early Thanksgiving morning, he found no one needed it – they already were doing chores. Sons and daughters and their... [More]

In the Mean Time

 A pious old man prayed five times a day while his business partner never set foot in church. And now, on his eightieth birthday, he prayed thus: “Oh, Lord, our God! Since I was a youth, not a day have I allowed to pass without coming to church in the morning and saying... [More]

More Opinions

NEWS

Scandia woman killed in three-vehicle accident

  A Scandia woman, Marilyn Sothers, was killed in a three-vehicle crash at 8th Street and Highway 81 on Thanksgiving Day.  According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, a 2007 Chevy Silverado truck, driven by Timothy Brush, Concordia, was westbound on 8th Street when he made... [More]

For the record 11-28-14

Police Dept. Report Accident–On Nov. 27, at 5:52 p.m., officers investigated an accident which occurred at 6th and State involving vehicles driven by Lacie Huber, Concordia, and Linda Begnoche, Aurora. Fire Dept./EMS Report At 11:29 a.m., Wednesday, Medic-1 went to Cloud... [More]

Courthouse 11-28-14

District Court CIVIL Filed: Patricia Lee Prindaville, Concordia, seeks an order changing her name to Patricia Steele Prindaville. Arden N. Krohn seeks a judgment for an amount in excess of $75,000 for past medical expenses, future medical expenses, past and future lost services... [More]

More News

SPORTS

T-Birds down Mavericks for third straight win

thumb

 Cloud County picked up its third consecutive win by knocking off Northern Oklahoma-Tonakawa 76-56 Wednesday night in Bryant Gymnasium. It was the Thunderbirds' second win of the season over the Mavericks. Cloud County downed Northern Oklahoma 75-68 in a previous matchup.... [More]

T-Birds use balance to upend Central, 92-72

thumb

Five players scored in double figures to lead the unbeaten Cloud County Thunderbirds to a 92-72 win over Central (Neb.) Community College Tuesday night in Bryant Gymnasium. Freshman guard Ridell Camidge led the way for Cloud County with 23 points. He was 9 of 16 from the field,... [More]

More Sports

Buy Photos