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The Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center approved a 2019 operating budget of $83,413,796 Tuesday night, as well as approving a tax levy of 1.933 mills to generate $863,598 in property tax revenues to couple with anticipated hospital revenues of $82,550,198. The mill levy amounts to approximately $45 per person residing in the Salida Hospital District.

In other action, CEO Bob Morasko reported that the completion date for the outpatient services pavilion has been pushed back to March 1, due to a delay in the delivery of the electrical switch system that will control electricity and heat. The switch was produced overseas and delayed was delayed due to the hurricanes, Morasko reported

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Rocky Mountain Eye Center has contracted to purchase a 5,000 square-foot lot on the hospital campus to provide services there Morasko stated.

Rocky Mountain Eye Center’s Administrator, David Aldag, told Ark Valley Voice after the new construction is completed on the new clinic, in excess of 4,000 square feet, and staff and equipment moved, the current building on First Street will be sold or leased.

Aldag said the HRRMC staff has been good to work with, and a new cataract surgeon, Dr. Wesley Adams, has joined the eye center staff and will be dividing his time between Salida and Alamosa.

An application to subdivide Lot 9 on the campus for this purpose was approved by Salida City Council on Nov. 20. No firm dates have been set for the start of construction or completion, Aldag said.

Area mental health and counseling service provider Sol Vista remains interested in purchasing a lot as well, Morasko reported, but there were no new developments.

The board also learned the current water line connecting the hospital building to the Salida water mains is inadequate, and an additional six-inch water line is required to provide adequate water service and meet code requirements.

The new line will hopefully migrate some water pressure issues that have been encountered in surgical services and thought to be a factor in an earlier issue with the autoclave/sterilizer equipment at the hospital, it was reported.

The hospital has assured the Salida Public Works Department it will pay up to $400,000 in required tap fees for a new six-inch domestic water line.

The board also heard that the Salida City Council reviewed and a approved the planned development modifications to the future RV parking spaces for visiting hospital staff on the hospital campus on Nov. 20. Morasko added that research has been done on what rules to establish for the lots with commercial RV campground providers.