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WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission is looking at a pared-down budget for next year, but no significant scaling back in economic development activities that range from renewable energy and the biosciences to tourism, marketing and technology. Members of the EDC's governing board and joint operations board got their first look Wednesday night at a preliminary 2010 budget of $484,511. It's "a rather austere budget," said Steve Renquist, executive director of the Economic Development Commission. The EDC proposes to spend about $3,000 less next ye
WILLMAR -- If patient volume is down, you look for other ways to enhance your revenue and help wring the most from complicated reimbursement formulas. That's one of the strategies being taken by Rice Memorial Hospital as the city-owned hospital copes with a continuing decline in patient admissions. The hospital is pursuing extra dollars and cents on several fronts, ranging from speeding up the billing and collection process to maximizing the amount of money it can claim through the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital formula, which allows hospitals with higher Medicaid utilization to cl
WILLMAR -- Kandiyohi County will have to work harder than ever and be more innovative than ever as it wrestles with its share of a $100 million state budget unallotment to Minnesota counties. But with severe cutbacks in state funding, some county programs and services will not survive, officials said Tuesday. "Some things are going to go away. We just know that," said Larry Kleindl, Kandiyohi County administrator. County department heads took the first steps in prioritizing what's most important.
WILLMAR -- Fast-paced economic growth.
If that cute face doesn't do it, maybe the sale price will. The Humane Society of Kandiyohi County, up to its whiskers in homeless cats and kittens, is offering discounted adoption fees this month in hopes it'll spur more cat adoptions, especially among the adult cats. "We really are trying to get some of our older kitties placed. They're the ones no one looks at," said Bobbie Bauman, animal care director for the Humane Society shelter. Any cat age 3 and older can be adopted for $33.33. That's less than half of the usual adoption fee, which starts at around $85.
SPICER -- The city of Spicer will see a 21 percent loss of its local government aid as a result of the state budget unallotment, announced Tuesday by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. How this cutback will affect the city was the main topic of discussion for the Spicer City Council at a meeting Tuesday evening. For now, the impact is not likely to be major. Overall, local government aid amounts to about 14 percent of the city's tax levy, said Leslie Valiant, city administrator. "It's not a huge factor to us," she said. The city also has been bracing itself since last fall for tough financial times.
WILLMAR -- Before any of the surgery teams at Rice Memorial Hospital or the Willmar Surgery Center make the first incision, there's a final stop as they go down the checklist: Correct patient. Correct procedure.
WILLMAR -- Willmar city officials contend a forthcoming estimate of the city's population falls short by at least 700 people. The newest set of figures from the Minnesota State Demographical Center won't be publicly released until July. But city officials have already seen the estimate and they're disputing it. "We are challenging it," said Bruce Peterson, the city's community development director. City officials believe Willmar's population stands at approximately 19,600.
WILLMAR -- Financial assistance might become one of the bargaining chips as the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission continues its push to obtain a veterans' nursing home and mental health facility for Willmar. The possibility was put forward Thursday as the EDC's operations board contemplated how to stay in the running for the project. "I think we need this discussion to go a little further so we know what we're putting on the table," said Duane Hultgren, chairman of the operations board. During the past legislative session, the veterans' home proposal came
WILLMAR -- Rice Memorial Hospital's new chief executive has been spending his first 10 days on the job meeting people and getting to know the faces and the issues at the city-owned hospital. Michael Schramm had his first official meeting Wednesday with the hospital board of directors. "I'm very glad to be here," he told the board. During the short meeting, which lasted less than 90 minutes, he reviewed state budget issues with the board, heard a presentation on the hospital's 2008 environmental safety report, and described for board members what he's been doing since arriving in the executi