Hospital board approves 1997 budget

This article submitted by Molly Connors on 10/1/96.

The hospital board approved the new budget for fiscal year 1997 in their Sept. 25 meeting.

Tracey Moestart from the hospital's accounting firm, Deloitte and Touche, presented the budget to the board at the meeting. The budget allows for a seven percent increase in total expenses.

The board discussed whether the city of Richmond will join the district. The district won't close the Richmond clinic if the city decides not to join, hospital administrator William LaCroix said.

"We're there for the duration," he said. "It's a very strong clinic for us. It would be a bad business decision to close (the clinic)."

LaCroix has given the Richmond city council up-to-date financial reports and audits from four years back.

Right now, Richmond's senior citizens are the strongest advocates for joining the district.

"They have a good situation and they know it," LaCroix said. The main argument against joining the district points out that once the city joins the district, it's "forever." The city could get out of the district. If the district situation turned so bad that Richmond wanted out, Regal, St. Martin, Eden Valley and all the townships would also want out, LaCroix reasoned.

The board approved contracts for LaCroix, chief financial officer Karen Bachman and administrative assistant Beverly Mueller.

LaCroix's contract runs from Oct 1, 1996 through Dec. 31, 2000. LaCroix plans to retire on Dec. 31, 2000. LaCroix has been the administrator for the past 20 years.

Bachman and Mueller both have two-year contracts. They received salary increases from the last contract. The increases are consistent for the facility size, their jobs and the job responsibilities, LaCroix said.

The board decided to remodel the Wellness area. The locker rooms, which aren't used, will be removed to allow more space for the occupational therapy and speech pathology programs. The bathrooms will remain. LaCroix received a $10,000 estimate for the project's total cost.

LaCroix told the board about the dates for the Cinklin roof lawsuit. The Conklin company had built the previous roof. This roof was guaranteed. When the roof leaked, Conklin refused to replace it. PAHCS is suing Conklin.

Dates for the lawsuit against Conklin are as follows: depositions are Dec. 5, a mediation session is Dec. 12 at 10:00 a.m. at the courthouse, pre-trial is Feb. 24, 1997, and the trial date is set for March 10, 1997.

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