Commissioners consider transfer of land ownership

Current working plan for the Boone County Health Center addition.

Advance procedures for the Boone County Health Center addition project were discussed by the county commissioners during their meeting Monday, Aug. 19.
Commissioners started by considering a resolution that would allow BCHC to secure a construction loan for the outpatient addition. This action would be necessary because the county has held title to the real estate occupied by the hospital and its clinics since the county hospital authority was developed.
Representing BCHC were Tanya Sharp, president and CEO, along with attorney Joel VanderVeen of Kutak Rock law firm, and hospital board officers Don Casper and Ken Schmitz.
The discussion evolved into consideration of transferring the land currently used and maintained by BCHC from county ownership to ownership by the health center. Commissioners agreed this would create clearer ownership and financial security for the health center to use in negotiating its loan with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
County Clerk Kathy Thorberg pointed out that a new state statute, LB 525, will provide a more streamlined way of transferring land ownership between governmental entities. This law becomes effective Sept. 1, 2019. She noted that the health center has already reimbursed the county for most of the land it has purchased through the years.
Sharp noted that USDA is in the process of aggregating its loan security for the project. She noted that a company is in place to handle construction financing, but the health center also wants to include local banks in the financing package.
More detailed plans for the $21 million outpatient expansion were made available at the meeting.
“We want to expedite the health clinic portion of this project so it is completed by the end of 2020,” said Sharp. “We still hope to break ground this fall.”
After the discussion, the commissioners tabled action on the resolution until the land ownership transfers can take place.