Tayyara endorsing hospital's proposed tax initiative

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— It's important people understand the distinction that comes with Saed Tayyara's endorsement of The Memorial Hospital's proposed tax initiative, he said.

As Moffat County Commission chairman and a public official, he takes no particular position on the November ballot question, which, if approved, would generate money for a new hospital facility.

The same can't be said of Tayyara the Craig resident and taxpayer.

"This is my town," Tayyara said. "I've lived here longer than any other place, including where I was born. I will do whatever I can to help.

"As an individual and as a taxpayer, I'm endorsing it. Not only am I endorsing it tonight, but years ago I endorsed improving the quality of health care in Moffat County."

Tayyara, who sits as a non-voting member of the hospital's Board of Trustees, told board members Wednesday night - the board's monthly meeting - that he believed there existed a public perception of him opposing the hospital question.

He sought to clear up any misunderstanding.

"I do support the hospital," he said. "I just wanted to be on the record.

"My questions have been answered, and I favor what the (hospital) board is doing to move forward."

Furthermore, Tayyara pledged to "do whatever it takes to see (the ballot question) pass this November," including campaigning on behalf of the hospital.

In November's election, local voters will be asked to decide on a 3-mill total tax package for TMH. The hospital currently receives .485 mills, meaning voters are being asked to approve a 2.515 mill increase.

Money raised by an increased mill levy would help pay for the construction of an 84,875-square-foot facility with an estimated price tag of $42.6 million.

Tayyara said he was unsure if the public perception he believes exists regarding his support of the hospital project stemmed from the county commission's reluctance to endorse the proposal as a whole. The board has taken no stance on the question and instead has chosen to remain neutral.

It's the same middle ground the commission chose when asked last year by the Craig Rural Fire Protection District and Colorado Northwestern Community Col-

lege to support tax questions that went before voters in November 2006.

Pledging to support the hospital's question this year as a commission would be contradictory to previous board decisions, Tayyara said. He said remaining neutral lets "the public decide on its own," how they wish to spend their tax dollars.

"We don't want to favor one organization over another," he said.

Hospital board members reported Wednesday that infrastructure work at the new hospital site is "going extremely well," and the project is ahead of schedule. Curb and guttering work could begin as soon as next week, board members said.

The hospital's owner representative for the building project sent out requests for proposals last week to construction companies. The hospital board could choose a construction company at its October board meeting, board members said.

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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