Wrangell Medical Center CEO Robert Rang and the Wrangell Borough Assembly held a public workshop Tuesday on the possibility of a new hospital.
There was a previous contentious attempt for a new facility which brought the process to a halt. Rang took over the CEO position about a year ago and has been trying to jump-start the process.
Rang said WMC’s accountant examined the feasibility of a 20-year $30 million loan. The hospital’s payments would be $200,000 per month. Rang said with $500,000 in the bank, he would feel nervous about making those payments.
Assembly member Mark Mitchell along with a few other members asked that the hospital board start from square one and perform a financial feasibility study.
“Robert, it looks like we need to go back to the starting point, and you need to come up with minimum requirements you think this hospital should have,” said Mitchell. “We need to have a basic idea of the footprint, the size, what we’re talking about, and then we can get into the design.”
Rang and the assembly agreed that the study was necessary. He noted leftover grant money would be used to pay for it.
Stephen Prysunka, who stepped down from the assembly earlier this month, was appointed back into his seat. Prysunka resigned because his daughter was hired at the community pool and said he didn’t want to violate the borough’s nepotism code.
The code allows Prysunka and other community members to submit letters of interest for the seat. There was another letter from Chamber of Commerce President Christie Jamieson.
Assembly member Julie Decker said it’s Prysunka’s experience that helped her make her decision.
“Stephen has proven himself as being very thorough and taking this position very seriously. And even though he and I disagree probably the most of any other assembly member, I think that he’s been voted into this position in the past,” said Decker. “He brings a certain perspective for the community. So I appreciate those things, and that’s why I made that decision.”
In other business, the assembly approved the first reading of a revised ordinance pertaining to junk vehicles on public and private property.
Some assembly members thought the ordinance didn’t address vehicles and other miscellaneous junk on private property. Borough Clerk Kim Lane said the purpose of amending the ordinance was to bring it into line with state statues.
“The ordinance we have is not following state law. That’s why this is here before you,” said Lane. “It’s very outdated according to our attorney. I’m scared to have it in our code right now.”
Lane later noted that she found the borough had an ordinance pertaining to junk in public view on private property.
“The assembly approved this back in 1995. So I’m not saying this can’t be looked at again, but there is an ordinance in there,” she said.
The amended ordinance gives 10 days for junk vehicles on public property to be moved before being impounded. The borough manager can extend the window to 30 days. Vehicles on private property just need to be moved from public view. The assembly approved the amendment in a unanimous vote. A resolution was also passed in support of the Port Commission’s push for a Mariner’s Memorial.