Tahoe Forest Hospital may help finance Truckee aquatic center | SierraSun.com

Tahoe Forest Hospital may help finance Truckee aquatic center

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Recreation officials are looking for Tahoe Forest Hospital District help close a funding gap for the warm-water pool at the Truckee aquatic center.

Of a $250,000 fundraising goal, roughly half ($122,000) had been raised or pledged to the pool as of Wednesday, said Amanda Oberacker, aquatic coordinator for the Truckee-Donner Recreation & Park District.

Although the public has and continues to be generous, we don’t know many individuals that can fill that gap, and we’re hoping that Tahoe Forest Hospital District will step forward on behalf of the health and wellness of our community,”she said.

At a March 31 meeting, district officials made a presentation to the TFHD board, requesting it consider making a contribution, and were met with several questions.

One revolved around the legality of a public agency donating money to another agency.

“There would have to be a public purpose for the Tahoe Forest Hospital District in the expenditure for it not to be a gift of public funds,” explained district legal counsel Steve Gross, who also serves as TDRPD’s general counsel. “Under that analysis, you would have to determine that there is some public purpose served that benefits this district and the community…”

Director Dale Chamblin asked if the hospital district was to contribute, would it be an “end-run” around taxpayers who didn’t pass TDRPD’s Measure J ballot item in 2012.

TDRPD general manager Steve Randall said it wouldn’t, citing that Measure J received a majority of voter approval (58 percent, with 66.6 percent needed to pass), that it was for two facilities — an aquatic center and performing arts center — and it asked if taxpayers wanted to tax themselves, not if they wanted the facility.

As for financial impact, a contribution would have “minimal impact” on a day’s cash on hand calculation, since the hospital district has a daily expense of about $323,000, said Crystal Betts, TFHD chief financial officer.

The hospital board directed staff to do additional research.

TDRPD’s deadline to raise the funds is May 5, at which time project bids received will expire, with construction costs anticipated to rise, Oberacker said.

“There is a short leash,” director John Mohun said at the March meeting. “We need to send it back to (administration) to produce some kind of economic model that’s feasible for the hospital and make a decision within 30 days.”

TFHD’s next regular meeting is April 28.

Reno-based Building Solutions, Inc., who was awarded the center’s construction bid, priced the warm water pool and a party room at nearly $1 million.

In late February, the Truckee Tahoe Airport District approved up to $525,000 in matching funds toward those amenities, on the basis TDRPD raise the difference.

In addition, the KaWyHa Fund, a donor-advised fund at Fidelity Charitable, has committed up to $250,000 in matching funds.

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