Grand County Council members adjusted the distribution of mineral lease monies at their Tuesday, Oct. 9 meeting in an attempt to secure additional funding for the Canyonlands Care Center and the Moab Regional Hospital.

Council members doubled the mineral lease allocation, increased the share of the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) money to 50 percent, and allocated 10 percent of the mineral bonus to the Canyonlands Health Care Service District.

The county’s mineral lease money comes from oil, gas and mineral leases on federal land within Grand County. It is first evenly divided between the federal government and the State of Utah. Utah then splits their share evenly with the county where the leases reside. Grand County received $450,000 in mineral lease money in 2012. Payment in Lieu of Taxes is compensation for the reduction to the property tax base due to the presence of federally owned land. In 2012, Grand County received $278,000 in PILT money. Mineral bonus money comes from the royalties paid from developed mineral leases on federal property. In 2012, Grand County received $600,000 in mineral bonus money.

If Grand County receives approximately the same amount in mineral lease, PILT and bonus money in 2013 as it did in 2012, the health care district will receive $515,000 in their 2013 budget. That is $245,000 more than it received in 2012.

Canyonlands Care Center, an extended care center that is under the jurisdiction of the county’s health care district, is operating with a $15,000 minimum monthly loss. Monthly losses increase by an additional $5000 per empty bed each month.

The additional allocation to the health district may also provide 2013 seed money for the Moab Regional Hospital in order for the hospital to receive Medicaid Disproportionate Share Payments (DSH), federal monies that are given to hospitals that provide care to low-income patients.

Moab Regional Hospital recently requested $277,000 in “seed” money from the county in order to secure $876,000 in DSH payments this year. The county and City of Moab are working cooperatively to provide this money from their general budgets by Nov. 29.

County council members are considering placing a rural health tax on June 2013 ballot. If passed by a 2/3 public vote, the health tax could be used by the health care service district to subsidize the care center and provide DSH seed money each year. The tax money would be available for the health care district’s 2014 budget.

“We hope that the tax passes so we can have that third of the mineral lease money again,” said Chris Baird, Grand County councilman. “If that rural health care tax passes that money comes back into the pot.”

The 2012 mineral lease allocation was evenly distributed between three special service districts: the health care district, the Grand County Transportation Special Service District and the Grand County Solid Waste Special Service District.

Council members freed a third of the mineral lease allocation having the solid waste district be funded by Transient Room Tax (TRT) instead. That third of the mineral lease money will now go to the health care district.

TRT may be used to offset increased costs related to tourism, which includes solid waste disposal.

“It’s nice that the tax passed so we can use TRT for the Solid Waste District and we can use more mineral lease for the Health Care District,” Baird said.

The solid waste district should be able to meet their budget needs with the TRT money.

“I appreciate that we are trying to keep the solid waste district budget whole,” said councilman Chris Conrad, who also serves on the solid waste district board.

The recreation district took the biggest cut in the redistribution. It will not receive any PILT money and will receive 10 percent less of the bonus money. If Grand County receives approximately the same amount of PILT and bonus money in 2013 as it did in 2012, this reduces the recreation district’s revenue by $87,000.

Baird pointed out the recreation district has a $2.1 million fund balance, which is about the same amount that the county has.

“I don’t think this will put the rec district in a bind” said council chair Gene Ciarus.