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The Toole County Commissioners met on Jan. 16 and approved the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the sale of Marias Medical Center, the Heritage Center, the nursing home and the Brittain House. The RFP is available for review on the Toole County website, the Marias Medical Center website or at the Clerk and Recorder’s office.

Getting to this point has been a long process of research, input from experts, employees and the community on what the RFP needed to include. A town meeting was held back in October with over 100 people from the community attending and more input was received. It was at that meeting that Commissioner Joe Pehan explained why the Commissioners had chosen this avenue for the facilities.

“When you are going in the hole every year, you start looking to see what is going on,” said Pehan at the October meeting. “The last time the hospital made a profit was 2011. It has been operating at a loss of $748,000 a year, which the taxpayers have been picking up.”

Input from citizens attending was taken into consideration and the RFP was reviewed and fine-tuned before being approved at the Jan. 16 meeting.

“There is really nothing new on the RFP,” said Pehan. “We took out most of the leasing language in the RFP, as we would rather sell the property than lease it. There were also some date changes and we had to wait for the evaluations of the property to come out. We are moving very slowly ahead with this process.”

The Commissioners’ attorney has sent out five copies of the RFP to interested parties, all of which currently remain confidential. 

“We don’t really know who they were sent to, as out of the five, who knows which ones will actually submit back,” said Pehan. “Most of the companies want things to remain confidential until we are closer to a final decision.”

Any interested organizations will have until March 18, 2020, to submit questions on or about the RFP. The deadline for submitting proposals back to the Commissioners is April 30, 2020. 

The month of May will find the Commissioners and the lead team reviewing the presentations and traveling to each applicant’s business to check them out.

“After that, hopefully we will be able to pick a new provider,” said Pehan.

The next couple of months will be quieter as the Commissioners wait to see what proposals they get back. 

In a press release from the Commissioners they reassure the public that “we will keep the public informed as progress is made.” If anyone would like to view the RFP it is available on the County website, toolecountymt.gov, or you can purchase a copy at the Toole County Clerk and Recorder’s office for $4.75.

During the Jan. 16 meeting, the commissioners also appointed Annette Freeland to the Senior Center Board.

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