by Tammy Sakry
St. Francis School District 15’s plans to open a medical clinic for its employees has hit another stumbling block.
The St. Francis City Council voted 4-1 March 5 to send the school district’s request for a ordinance amendment and a conditional use permit back to the planning and zoning committee.
Councilmember Jeff Sandoval voted against the motion.
At the previous meeting, the council had concerns on the last minute application to allow a commercial business in a residential zone for the clinic and the tax implications of allowing a for-profit business to use tax-exempt property.
Some councilmembers also had a problem with the communication between the school district and the city.
The district’s plan is to open a clinic for its employees as a way to reduce health care costs while improving the health of its employees, said David Lindberg, district human resources director.
“This clinic will not pay rent so there will be no taxable environment,” he said.
The district, which will be paying for the supplies and the equipment, has contracted with NeoPath to provide the health care employees, Lindberg said.
At the Feb. 21 meeting, councilmembers said they were concerned about how the clinic will impact businesses in the city providing similar services.
It will not impact the existing medical clinic because employees are not going to the clinic and are getting sicker because of it, Lindberg said.
The district is working with Goodrich Pharmacy to dispense prescriptions that the district clinic is not able to, he said.
There is no guarantee that the employees will go to the clinic, even if it’s free, Sandoval said.
The district should work with the existing clinic in town rather than contract to have one come in, he said.
Since the clinic opened in the Sandhill Center for the Arts, all of the available clinic openings have been filled, Lindberg said.
The city has worked with the district over the years to build a good, close working relationship, which is based on trust and respect, said Councilmember Steve Kane.
Based on the presentation given by Lindberg, he doesn’t see that the trust and respect reflected in it, he said.
The district is presenting a unique idea, but he is torn, said Mayor Jerry Tveit.
This is a parcel that does not pay taxes and it would be putting a clinic that normally would be paying taxes on it and there are already entities in the city that provide similar services, he said.
The council should make a decision on this and not keep the district hanging, Sandoval said.
Tammy Sakry is at email@example.com