Baptist Health

NEW ALBANY — The Floyd County Commissioners and Council have both signed off on a letter, giving Baptist Health System one year to pay off the remainder of the money owed from the purchase of Floyd Memorial Hospital. The majority of that money, an estimated $40 million, will eventually wind up in Floyd County's Legacy Foundation.

The sale agreement calls for Baptist Health System to make 10 payments to Floyd County; the third of the 10 payments is expected to be received today. The letter asks Baptist Health to pay the remaining amount owed in one lump sum.

But before that happens, money from the sale of the hospital that the county has already received will be put into the foundation. How much is still up for debate.

The account currently holds $3.3 million but another $6.1 million will go in today after it is received from Baptist Health. The council and commissioners will decide how much to transfer to the foundation next month. Auditor Scott Clark reminded the council Thursday that $5 million had to be pulled from that account earlier this month to balance the 2018 county budget.

The council had on its agenda at the special meeting to transfer $10 million over to the foundation. But once members found out there was not $10 million available, they decided to table the vote until the Jan. 8 meeting.

Council President Brad Striegel said the foundation and its rules for spending the money have been discussed all year and it's time the county follows through and starts to invest hospital sale proceeds. The initial $70 million from the sale was invested with the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana.

Commissioner John Schellenberger, who was in attendance Thursday, said the commissioners agreed to ask Baptist Health for the remaining money that was to be paid out over 10 years, but they wanted to do their "due diligence" to make sure everything was being done legally before committing to an amount to invest.

"There isn't much objection about putting money into the Legacy Foundation, it's just a matter how much to fund it," Striegel said. "Why not table it until all the details are worked out."

In other action Thursday:

• Floyd County employees will receive a $1,000 bonus next month, except those who are represented by a bargaining unit. Also, the maximum pay for part-time employees is $12.25 an hour in 2019, unless more is warranted by a direct supervisor and then the request would be considered by the salary review board and council.

• The council will meet the second Tuesday of each month in 2019. A reorganizational meeting will begin at 5 p.m. Jan. 8 prior to the regularly scheduled meeting. The hope is also to meet with commissioners, beginning in February, in a joint meeting at 5 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month.

Chris Morris is an assistant editor at the News and Tribune. Contact him via email at chris.morris@newsandtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NAT_ChrisM.

I am an assistant editor, cover Floyd County news and enjoy writing feature stories on interesting people in Southern Indiana.