Roche tells county council what happened at WCMH PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 12 August 2009 00:00
    The Washington County Council met in regular session on on Monday, August 3 with all members present.  The minutes of previous meetings, all requests for transfers and additions, along with all claims were approved unanimously.
    Joe Roche, Interim Chief Executive Officer of Washington County Memorial Hospital (WCMH), addressed the council giving a chronological overview of how WCMH came to the point of seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June.
    According to Roche, no one incident or decision brought about the demise of the hospital but rather a series of ill-advised decisions along with  changes in the overall economy and the healthcare industry.  
    Roche began his explanation with the separation from Jewish Hospital by WCMH.  Roche explained that the leadership of the hospital became convinced that it could function at a more profitable level as a stand along institution.  Roche noted that this was probably the first error in judgment.  Roche went on to say that the purchasing power and negotiating strength of a larger healthcare organization is almost always greater than that of a small independent hospital.
    Other decisions necessitated by the separation from Jewish involved new computer systems and the hiring of additional personnel such as an anesthesiologist at an annual salary and bonus of $800,000.
    Roche explained that during an eighteen month period, problems with converting to the new computer system brought billing for services to a virtual standstill.  Coupled with expenses averaging around $1 million per month, it didn't take long to deplete a $7 million cash reserve and to go through an additional $3 million borrowed from a local financial institution with the accounts receivable used as collateral.  By the time that the bills were finally sent out, most were not collectible.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 August 2009 09:26
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Commissioners vote to approve Land Use Planning Commission Ordinance PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 12 August 2009 00:00
    The Washington County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on August 5 with all members present except Lana Sullivan.  The minutes of previous meetings, payroll, and all claims were approved unanimously.
    In a 2-0 vote, Commissioners David Brown and John Mishler approved an ordinance creating a Land Use Planning Commission for Washington County.  According to Mishler, such action must either be approved unanimously by all three Commissioners at a single meeting or by two of the three at two consecutive meetings.  The next scheduled Commissioners meeting is Wednesday, August 19.  A public hearing on the subject will be held that evening.
    A lively discussion between the Commissioners and members of the public ensued over the issue of land use planning with both Mishler and Brown stating that they ran on platforms of supporting the concept and intended to see that it becomes a reality in Washington County.
    Of the 92 counties in the state only 12 do not have some form of land use planning.  Of those 12, at least three are currently in the process of developing plans.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 August 2009 09:27
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Washington County Family YMCA reminds that Fall Soccer Sign-Up Deadline is August 15 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 12 August 2009 00:00
    The Washington County YMCA will take registration for Fall Soccer now through August 15. The Fall Soccer League is for boys and girls in pre-school (age four by August 15) Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th grades. Divisions of play will be pre-school, kindergarten – 1st grade, 2nd – 3rd grade, and 4th – 8th grades. This is a great introduction to soccer for new players and exciting for veteran players. The program stresses FUN, sportsmanship, participation, learning fundamentals, volunteerism and family involvement.
    Volunteers will coach each team. Training will be available for new and experienced coaches. Games and practices are at the Washington County YMCA. All players play at least half of each game. Games will be played on weeknight evenings and Saturdays.
    Program Fees are $24 for members and $31 for non-members, with payment by cash or check payable to the YMCA.
    All interested participants must register by August 15 at the YMCA.
    Volunteers are needed for coaches and referees. The YMCA refuses no child based on their inability to play.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 August 2009 09:28
 
Local reassessment continues despite postponement by State PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 05 August 2009 00:00
      Washington County Assessor Jason Cockerill said in a recent telephone interview that the property reassessment process will continue throughout the county even though the Indiana State Legislature changed the effective date from July 1, 2009, to July 1, 2010 in House Bill 1001 (ss).  According to Cockerill the majority of counties throughout the state are not as far along in their reassessments as is Washington County thus prompting the change.  
    Cockerill said that due to the fact that so much of the local assessment has been completed it will be more cost effective to complete the process with fewer people over a longer time period rather than stopping at this point and beginning again in 2010.
    According to information received from the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF), any reassessment work done prior to July 1, 2010, will have to be reevaluated and updated.  DLGF gives counties three options to reevaluate their work:
A follow up property visit
A review of county building records
Use of aerial photography
    
    Cockerill indicated that the second two options are what he plans to implement since both can be completed without numerous physical visits and the cost of those visits.
    “Overall, Washington County is actually in better shape than most counties when it comes to this postponement.” explained Cockerill. “The silver lining is that we should be able to cut the number of people doing the reassessment because we can take more time and be more thorough in our visits; accuracy in very important.”
    In regards to the issue of accuracy, House Bill 1001 (ss) contains an interesting provision.  According to DLGF, “the bill . . . places the burden on the Assessor to prove the assessment is correct, if the assessed value of a property increases by more that 5 per cent over the previous year's assessed value.”
    Cockerill wants to let county residents know that despite what he calls “some recent unclear headlines,” reassessment personnel will still be canvassing the county.
    Cockerill also said that as far as he is aware, this postponement should not affect the mailing of property tax bills scheduled for the last half of August.
    For additional information on the property reassessment process, contact the Washington County Assessor's Office at 883-4000.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 August 2009 08:21
 
Bradie Shrum Upper Elementary holds Welcome Night PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 05 August 2009 00:00
      Bradie Shrum Upper Elementary will hold a Welcome Night on Thursday, August 13 in the classrooms. Third Grade will be held from 6 to 6:15 p.m., Fourth Grade will be held from 6:20 to 6:35 p.m. and Fifth Grade from 6:40 to 6:55 p.m. Ice cream will be available at 7 p.m. in the courtyard.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 August 2009 08:22
 
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