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Wellington Daily News - Wellington, KS
  • City gives hospital cash to pay its bills

  • The Wellington City Council plans to give $880,500 to the Sumner Regional Medical Center to help it stay afloat, after making the decision at its regular meeting this week.
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  • The Wellington City Council plans to give $880,000 to the Sumner Regional Medical Center to help it stay afloat, after making the decision at its regular meeting this week.
    The decision came after two one-hour executive sessions, or closed-door meetings.
    The money will come from the city's reserve funds, which cuts in half its current fund of $1.7 million.
    Council members also talked about having a public forum where information about the hospital's financial situation can be made public and people can ask questions. The city has had several executive sessions recently with hospital officials.
    City officials have talked about the needs of the hospital, and how it needs support, but specifics have not been discussed publicly.
    Sales taxes have also been earmarked for the hospital but they expired last year.
    The idea of having another vote to get a sales tax in place to support the hospital has been talked about, but no action has been taken.
    Also during the closed meeting the council agreed to continue not charging the hospital for utilities.
    The council also formed a committee made up of council members Kelly Green and Jan Forte, and hospital officials, to help with communication between the two.
    Council members have been supportive of the hospital, and say that it needs to be supported.
    The reasons given for the executive sessions were personnel and confidential financial matters.
    Interim City Manager Shane Shields said while the city owns the hospital, it is run by the hospital board, making business dealings fall under executive session.
    In other matters the council also adjusted Shields' salary to reflect his added duties of interim city manager. He is still doing the city clerk job in addition.
    City officials are currently working on the budget for the coming year, which will likely be passed late in the summer. Shields ordinarily focuses on the budget at this time of year, so he is continuing that along with city manager duties.
    A work session is set for 5:30 p.m. on June 16 to discuss the city's five year plan, or capital improvement plan, for various projects.

    The city agreed to annex six acres behind Walmart for a duplex development that is planned for development over the next five years. This is a different project than the apartments planned in the same area.

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