A joint session of the county council and county commissioners unanimously agreed Monday to change the 1985 ordinance directing use of the funds received when the LaGrange County Hospital was originally sold. The original ordinance provided that the purchase price of $3.5 million could not be expended, only the interest earned could be spent.
Over the last 27 years, the interest has been used to support the local ambulance service and capital improvements for this service.
The interest available and currently being earned will no longer support this service.
Council was faced with either changing the ordinance or funding the ambulance service from another source. Discussion centered around the fact that there is little or no chance that the hospital will ever be repurchased and operated by the county, that the current hospital has been vastly improved over the property originally sold, and that interest rates are projected to remain historically low for some time.
The ordinance was changed to provide that the amount to be held in trust will be the amount equal to the current principal plus accrued interest less the amount needed to cover the shortfall for 2012 plus $350,000 for next year’s contract with Parkview-LaGrange for ambulance services.
All five Council members in attendance voted in favor of the motion to change the ordinance as did the three county commissioners. Councilmen present were Ryan Riegsecker, Charles Ashcraft, Michael Strawser, Peter Cook and Jac Price. Commissioners are George Bachman, Garry Heller and Larry Miller. Councilmen Fred Brown and Steve McKowen were absent from the meeting.