Cleburne hospital board declines refinancing offer
by Laura Camper
news@cleburnenews.com
Feb 24, 2014 | 3550 views |  0 comments | 49 49 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HEFLIN — The Cleburne County Hospital Board, charged with overseeing the county’s nursing home and ambulance service, last week declined the County Commission’s offer to join in refinancing their loans together.

Commission members gave their approval for County Administrator Steve Swafford to refinance a county loan for the jail at their meeting last Tuesday. The move should save the county $150,000 to $160,000 through the end of the loan in 2025, Swafford told the commission members at their meeting. He also told them he had contacted the hospital board to see if it would like to refinance its loan at the same time. That, he said, could save taxpayers another $50,000 to $70,000.

Board members declined the offer, said board secretary Pam Richardson.

Sandy Weston, board chairman, said the board had refinanced its loan in 2012 with a 3 percent interest rate. She didn’t think the refinancing would save any money.

The board borrowed the money more than a decade ago to build the Cleburne County Nursing Home, Weston said. The nursing home had been in a structure built in the 1960s which it shared with the old county hospital, said Pam Morris, billing clerk for the nursing home. The hospital closed in February 1990 and the nursing home took over the entire building, giving it 69 beds, Morris said.

The board decided to build a new nursing home and borrowed $2.5 million, Weston said. It built the new 82-bed facility next door to the old building. The new building opened in May 2003, Morris said. The old building has since been demolished, Morris said.

Weston said the current loan balance is $1.14 million.

Dan Hopkins said at the board meeting Thursday that the nursing home is self-sufficient and doesn’t require any taxpayer money.

Richardson said the nursing home occasionally takes a loan from the board when Medicaid or Medicare payments are slow, but pays the money back immediately. The nursing home makes the monthly loan payments of $16,801.44, Richardson said.

In other business, the board:

— Changed its meeting to the third Tuesday of the month.

— Approved a request for the nursing home to purchase a storage unit for the facility.

Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.

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