Fairness vs Economic Health discussed at Riverton Council; Tabled

The question of fairness in giving a donation to the Riverton Medical District’s planned new hospital in Riverton dominated discussion late in Tuesday night’s Riverton City Council meeting.

Mayor Richard Gard asked “if we do it for one project, do we do it for all projects?” Gard did note, however, that it’s not often that a $35-million dollar project comes to town and he, personally, supported giving the district a donation “because what we are trying to do is be supportive of the new hospital.” He said if a donation is agreed to, and the hospital isn’t built, “then we’ve lost nothing.” Gard also said a donation to the hospital district could be made up in three or so years by collecting utility fees.

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Councilor Mike Bailey suggested specific criteria be developed on what projects might be considered for such breaks. He said if fees were waived, the city may have to raise other fees to make up the income.

After other discussion, the topic was tabled until the next council meeting to allow for the collection of more data on the impact to the city of such donations.

The Riverton Medical District is seeking donations to meet a 10 percent match requirement for a USDA guaranteed loan to begin construction of the new hospital.