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LAC County Commission to consider approval of grant for hospital improvement

by Bill Knowles
TRINIDAD — The Las Animas County Board of County Commissioners heard from John Tucker, CEO of Mt. San Rafael Hospital in Trinidad, concerning the multi-million dollar expansion of the hospital.  The project will cost around $22 million, mostly in grant funds, to complete.  The county will act as the pass-through agent for the grants, and must therefore be kept in the information loop.
Tucker said they would need $2 million in grant funding from the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), pulse another $2 million in matching funds as they begin to move into the actual project.  Then they are seeking another $18 million in grant funds from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), bringing the total expenditure for the project top around $22 million. The county commission approved their sponsorship of the project with a 3-0 vote.
Sam Mitchell, an attorney from Spice and Warwick, a legal firm located in Ohio with offices in Denver, addressed the county commissioners about filing a lawsuit against the manufacturers and distributors of opioid products, which has brought about a national emergency of opioid addiction resulting in over 625,000 overdose deaths in the U.S. since 2001.
In January, the commission heard from the Ochs Law Firm concerning the same type of lawsuit.  It was at that time that Huerfano County joined with the firm in filing a lawsuit against the makers and distributors of opioid products.
So far, the Las Animas County Commission hasn’t joined either law firm in the case against the opioid makers.
The county commissioners heard from Phil Dorenkamp, director of the road and bridge department, concerning a diesel fuel bid for 7,200 gallons.  La Junta Valley Oil’s bid of $2.06 dollars per gallon for an extended price of $14,832 won the bid.  Acorn was the only other bidder, pricing per gallon at $2.11 for an extended price of $15,214.  The commission approved La Junta’s bid with a 3-0 vote.
The commission also considered bids on grader blades for road and bridge.  The company Wear Parts won the bid with a 3-0 vote for $76.78 for 300 edges, a total cost of just over $23,000.  Dorenkamp had estimated the cost to be around $35,000, giving him around $12,000 extra in his budget to purchase other blades, such as snowplow blades, without an impact to the budget.
Also discussed was the consideration of routine maintenance of county vehicles by the road and bridge department.  Payment for the work done by the mechanics for other departments in the county would come from those departments, and not from road and bridge. The commission approved the motion 3-0.
The county commission went into executive session at 11:26 am.

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