The Las Cruces City Council reached a consensus during its Monday, Oct. 12 work session to form a work group, with some members of the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners, that will come up with final terms of proposed amendments to the City’s and County’s lease agreement with LifePoint Health, which operates Memorial Medical Center.
Still to be determined is who on City Council will serve on the committee and when the proposed amendments could be presented to City Council and the Board of Commissioners for formal consideration and approval. During Monday’s City Council work session, Council members agreed they need historical background of the lease agreement since none of them, except for Mayor Ken Miyagishima, were serving on the Council when the lease was approved on May 19, 2004. Councilors also asked for a copy of the lease agreement.
Memorial Medical Center administration, represented by Chief Executive Officer John Harris and Chief Financial Officer Steve Winegeart, presented proposed amendments and provided some details of the hospital’s lease agreement. The proposed amendments seek to modify terms, clarify some definitions, and add language on annual reporting requirements.
Among the amendments is a proposal to reduce the amount of the hospital’s annual net revenue dedicated to capital improvements from 4 percent to 3 percent.
The $150 million lease is for a 40-year term, of which 16 years have been completed. LifePoint Health, who operates Memorial Medical Center, leases the hospital from the City and Doña Ana County. The City’s share of lease payments is deposited in the Telshor Fund, which has provided more than $3 million this year to agencies and programs providing health and human services support for COVID-19 response.
Also, during Monday’s City Council work session, City staff presented a quarterly update on the status of General Obligation (GO) Bond projects. The update provided the Council and City residents with current information about the projects by highlighting background, status and estimated timelines for the design and construction phases of implementation.
A $35.6 million GO Bond election was approved by City voters in August 2018. The bonds will be used to construct improvements to parks, including sports fields and other related facilities; construction of a new animal shelter and related improvements; replacement of Fire Station 3, at 390 N. Valley Drive; and improvements for recreational walking, jogging, and biking trails. All projects will be completed by the end of 2022. Reports on the progress of GO Bond projects are available on the City website.
Additionally, City Council was updated on Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) and Business Support for Recovery programs.
The City of Las Cruces’ Economic Development Department has launched a BRE program to proactively connect with existing local businesses to understand and respond to their needs. The program has started as a pilot with businesses at the West Mesa Industrial Park and Las Cruces International Airport.
The program then will expand throughout the City for specific industries and by geographical areas. Staff discussed where the Economic Development Department currently is with the pilot program, the input that has been received so far from the businesses assisted, and the plans to expand the BRE Program.
The Economic Development Department has also put in place programs to address the specific needs from businesses during COVID-19 and for recovery. Staff provided an update on these programs including BizSprint, LiftFund, Social Media Assistance, and other initiatives being explored.