County finalizes move to old hospital complex
Milam County finalized its transition out of downtown to the old hospital building during a meeting July 27.
County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a swap of nine buildings currently owned and occupied in downtown Cameron for the former Little River Hospital complex in Cameron.
The swap includes the hospital, nun’s quarters and professional building and three other small buildings on the property.
“What we agreed to do was to swap buildings owned by the county and two vacant lots for the hospital complex,” Milam County Judge Steve Young said. “We have done an appraisal. The value of the buildings we are getting has to be more than what we are exchanging.”
Young said the appraised value of the hospital complex was $1.32 million and the appraised value of the county buildings is around $1.276 million.
The move will give the county 50,000 square feet of usable space, including 35,000 square feet in the old hospital building alone.
“We wanted to do something about urgent care in the county,” he said. “Back last October a young woman walks in and says she wants to do urgent care but doesn’t have the space. We figured out we can renovate the building with federal funds from TDEM which is about $610,000.”
The Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM) is in charge of giving out the federal funds from the CARES act. That money has to be used on COVID related issues in the county. The county was given $55 for each person that lives in the county outside of incorporated areas. Each city in the county also got funds.
“We asked TDEM if we could use the money for urgent care and COVID testing and they said yes you can use on that,” he said. “We do not have same day testing in the county and that is a huge problem. There have been a number of times when we have sent these tests off and we don’t get the tests back until after the quarantine is over. We are going to use the money for that.”
The City of Cameron voted last week to use their portion of those funds to chip in on the project. The city’s remaining funds are around $310,000.
Young also said the county is preparing to file for $5.5 million in infrastructure grant funds from the Economic Development Administration in order to help pay for the renovations to the entire complex. If awarded, the county would be responsible for a 20 percent match. Young said he expects the county to know if they will get the money by September.
“I know it is going to cost at least $500,000 for what we have planed to renovate for urgent care,” Young said. “We have filed for an EDA grant under the CARES Act appropriated for infrastructure projects. We haven’t gotten that yet. Will be submitted by Aug. 1 to pay for the renovations to the annex. $5.5 million grant renovation of hospital and paving parking lots and other things that we could certainly use but don’t have money for. They money would also be used to complete the professional building.”
He said the City of Cameron has filed a similar grant to repair streets in downtown Cameron and several other things.
Classic Bank submitted the only bid for the county’s buildings coming in at $1.3 million to exchange the property in downtown Cameron for the hospital complex. The appraised value of the hospital buildings is more than the county buildings.
The County also approved entering into a lease agreement with Milam Medical, owned by Danny Janicek, to use the Professional Building on the campus as a COVID-19 testing and urgent care facility.
Janicek would have to pay fair market value for the 3,000 square feet she would lease in that 9,700 square foot building.
The Judge said he plans to use $600,000 in grant funding from the CARES Act to pay for that renovation.
In other business, the County approved holding the tax rate cap at 8 percent based on the order by Governor Greg Abbott declaring the state in a disaster. The Court also approved the purchase of a John Deere 201GLC for Precinct 1 and permission for entry and waiver of claims on CR464/430.