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County agrees to sign Hillsboro lease

Staff writer

The county agreed Monday to pay $300 a month to rent an apartment, originally offered for free, for Hillsboro ambulance crews.

Jared Jost, chairman of Salem Hospital Inc., which owns the apartment, told commissions it had been offered for free when Hillsboro Community Hospital was leasing the space as a clinic, but that lease has expired.

Also originally offered were free meals from Salem Home, but those now will be available for purchase, too.

The free offer was originally extended by Hillsboro mayor Delores Dalke, who said last week that she was surprised when county commission chairman Randy Dallke wanted to pay.

The city of Hillsboro owns most of the Salem Home property after bailing Salem Hospital out of financial trouble years ago, but Salem owns the building with the apartment, Hillsboro city administrator Larry Paine said.

“Back in 1990-something, when the city of Hillsboro gave financial support to Salem Hospital — the hospital went into some financial stress and asked the city for some help — we made an agreement to give $1.3 million,” Paine said. “At the same time, Salem Hospital said they needed to retain some property.”

Jost didn’t speak to commissioners until Monday.

“I wish I could have done this in the opposite order,” Jost said.

Jost said Salem Home’s intention was to do something for EMS because the service is important.

“Ambulance service is something that affects everyone and we just want to help out,” Jost said.

The county also will be responsible for utilities. The building has only one utility meter to serve a clinic upstairs and two apartments downstairs.

Commissioner Kent Becker said he thought the commission members knew they would have to pay eventually.

“I guess I wouldn’t be against this,” Becker said.

Commissioners voted to work out an agreement on utilities.

“As long as we get ambulance service, I don’t care who gets the credit,” the mayor said. “It’s so important to Hillsboro that we have the service.”

Last modified June 14, 2017

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