Commission agrees to terms for wind farm bonds

By Tony Parra

The Roosevelt County commissioners on Tuesday approved to go into negotiations with Padoma Wind and Power on land use in Roosevelt County to build a wind farm and a resolution for the issuance of industrial revenue bonds.
County attorney Randy Knudson said he has been in consultations with Mike Groshek, an industrial revenue bond attorney of the Sherman and Howard office in Colorado, and Paul Cassidy, Managing Director of the RBC Dain Rauscher law firm in Albuquerque. He said all parties feel comfortable with the approval of the resolution for issuance of industrial revenue bonds.
“The county has no liability,” Knudson told the commissioners. “In principle we are on board with the issuance of these bonds. We have the option to back out. By passing the resolution, we can enter into negotiations with them.”
Padoma Wind and Power representatives said the San Juan Mesa Wind Project will be mostly on Roosevelt County, but will be partially on Chavez County. Padoma Wind Power of La Jolla, Calif., is proposing to develop a 120-megawatt wind farm near Elida.

— John Murray, Roosevelt General Hospital business office manager, presented a sole community hospital payment request for $52,000, but instead was only approved for $42,000 for the fiscal year of July 2005 until June 2006.
Murray said the county paid for the first quarter from July 2004 to June 2005, which was $42,000. The hospital will pay for the remaining three quarters of the fiscal year, at approximately $42,000 each quarter. The sole community hospital program works by having the hospital pay a certain amount for indigent claims, which the state matches.
The county chipped in $42,000 with the hospital paying the final three quarters’ payments, totaling $168,000 — about 25 percent of the total amount of indigent claims of more than $648,000. The state picks up the remaining amount.
“It is a concern that the amount keeps going up,” Tom Clark, county commissioner, said. “The hospital is doing better than the county (financially). I don’t see how we can continue to make payments when the hospital has the resources.”
Murray said that a total of more than $808,000 is to be paid off for the July 2004 to June 2005 fiscal year. Murray asked for $52,000 to compensate for the increase.
Kevin Ramage, RGH chief financial officer, and Murray both stated that even though the hospital is doing well financially, it is difficult to address the growing cost of indigent care. The RGH board recently approved to have a discount program in place to help uninsured patients and patients below the poverty level. The hope is that when the hospital foots the bill it will reduce write-off accounts and help pay for a percentage of the bill to encourage patients to pay their part of the bill.

— County commissioners also approved the proposal for the legislative consulting services of Mike Miller. Miller worked as a lobbyist last year for the county and will do so again this year to the tune of $12,500 for his work in the 2005 legislation.
Miller’s lobbying efforts last year brought $635,000 to various projects for Roosevelt County. In all his efforts brought in $2.255 million for different government entities in Roosevelt County, such as the county, city and Eastern New Mexico University.
Miller said that the cost of living in Santa Fe during the legislature session was in the range of $12,000 during the 2004 legislation.