County commissioners approve agreement with Belen for hospital mill levy funds

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On a 3-2 vote, Valencia County Commissioners threw their support behind the city of Belen’s hospital project Wednesday night.
After a failed attempt to table the item to rework the agreement to split the funding between the Belen and the Los Lunas hospital projects, Commissioners Charles Eaton, Donald Holliday and Mary Andersen voted in favor of the agreement.
Commissioners Alicia Aguilar and Lawrence Romero voted against the agreement. They were also the two commissioners who supported the defeated motion to table the item.
“If all the actions are accomplished in six months to the satisfaction of this agreement, the county will enter into a health care facility contract,” Andersen said before the vote. “It’s been a long time getting to this point. I am confident what we are trying to do this evening will protect county and the $20 million in taxpayer funds.”
The agreement the commissioners approved last night starts the clock ticking for Belen to put together and issue a request for proposal for a hospital provider.
According to the agreement, the county will execute a health care facilities contract with the provider selected by the city 45 days after the selection of a provider and the final resolution of any protest to the procurement.
That health care facilities contract is what will transfer the mill levy funds for the operation and maintenance of the hospital to the provider incrementally during the next five years.
In the legal analysis offered on the agenda request form in regards to the agreement between the city and county, County attorney Adren Nance wrote that the contract would prohibit the county from obligating the mill levy funding for six months, pending Belen’s issuance of the RFP.
(Editor’s note: For a complete story, read next Thursday’s issue of the News-Bulletin.)


-- Email the author at jdendinger@news-bulletin.com.