City to investigate special bonding for hospital project

Vivian Watkins is the spokesperson for the Riverton Medical District and their goal of building a new hospital in Riverton. Wyotoday photo by Ernie Over

The Riverton City Council Tuesday night agreed with a staff recommendation and will move forward to investigate a possible industrial bonding program that could assist future economic development efforts in the city.

The Riverton Medical District, the private non-profit seeking to build a new hospital in Riverton, originally had asked the city to join them in a Joint Powers board “for the purposes of building a new hospital.”

But City Administrator Tony Tolstedt said that was not possible because such a joint powers board is limited only to governmental agencies and does not allow participation by a private non-profit. Instead, Tolstedt said a possible option is investigating Industrial bonding. But he told the council that city staff is unfamiliar with this option and would need to research it further.

Representing the Riverton Medical District, which actually is not a district at all but just the name of the group, was Vivian Watkins. She pledged the group’s support in working hand-in-hand with city staff “to study this to see if it makes sense.” Watkins said such industrial bonding, if passed through the city, could make them tax free bonds which would lower the interest rate on an financing. “That would be a huge benefit for us,” Watkins said.

The council, by consensus, agreed to allow city staff to pursue education on the issue, which Tolstedt said would take dedicated city staff time and something they could not do “just when we had some extra time.”

The topic will be brought back to a future meeting.