In support of Spanish Valley clinic

A mockup of a proposed San Juan County hospital and clinic. Photo courtesy of the San Juan Health District

The Utah Community Impact Board (CIB) is scheduled to meet today, Feb. 6, to formally approve a $5.4 million grant/loan package for a new health care clinic in Spanish Valley.

Several entities in Moab, including the City of Moab and Moab Regional Hospital, have expressed concern about the loan package and the impact of the new clinic.

I am completely in support of the project. This represents forward-thinking leadership and planning from the health service district.

Too many times, our public entities seem to be caught unaware and scramble to play catch-up. Instead of being caught by surprise, the health service district is leading the way.

The steps they are taking will bring new services to the current residents of northern San Juan County. In addition, they will be well positioned to serve the community as it grows.

The developments in Spanish Valley were one of our major stories in 2019. A major planning and zoning effort was necessary because of the explosive growth that is expected. San Juan County has invested millions of dollars to bring new water and sewer infrastructure to the area.

The Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) plans to develop thousands of acres in Spanish Valley in a massive project.

Simply put, huge changes are coming to Spanish Valley and it could become the largest community in San Juan County in coming years.

It is disingenuous to suggest that little or no growth is anticipated in the area. Just this week, commissioners signed three separate subdivision plats for development in Spanish Valley.

The actions of the health service district make even more sense since SITLA is mandated by law to secure the highest possible profit from each transaction.

The health service district was the first public entity to move. They secured five acres on the corner of what will become the main intersection at Spanish Valley Drive and Old Airport Road in the developing community.

The cost to develop will only increase as the community grows.

The project will be funded largely through the CIB, with the health service district contributing $1 million. The CIB funding is 25 percent grant and 75 percent loan, with a 30-year term at 1% interest on the loan.

A misinformation campaign, distributed online and via phone survey, states that taxpayers will carry the financial burden to repay the debt.

In reality, the loan is through a revenue bond and not a general obligation bond.

The loan will be repaid from clinic revenue and not through property tax. Similar to a home loan, the building itself is the collateral for the loan, not taxpayers.

Boyle is the publisher and editor of the San Juan Record, where a version of this opinion was originally published.