CASPER, Wyo. — The Casper City Council held a special meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 29 to adopt some changes to allow the sale of the Wyoming Medical Center to Banner Health to move forward.
Banner is expected to purchase the WMC’s hospital land, buildings and equipment for $157 million. Further details of the sale agreement available in this article.
Attorney Tim Stubson, who has represented Natrona County in negotiations for the deal, told the council that the transaction is expected to close on Wednesday. Stubson also thanked city staff for their responsiveness in helping the transaction move forward.
Article continues below...
Casper Deputy City Attorney Wallace Trembath explained that the council needed to help clear up some title and encroachment issues in order to allow the sale to proceed.
“Hopefully this is fairly easy,” Trembath said. “It was not easy to put together.”
Trembath said that negotiations for the sale involved the work of 30-40 attorneys across the country. He explained that city and county attorneys had worked to “find a way to get fair compensation for the city for encroachments on our land by a private entity.”
He noted that the Wyoming Medical Center is a government entity since the buildings and assets are owned by the county.
“Before it was a government entity so it wasn’t nearly as big of a problem,” he said. Since Banner Health will take over ownership of the WMC, the issue needed to be resolved.
“We negotiated appraisals and fair market value costs for what the encroachments would be at a fair market value that was acceptable and reasonable to all of the other attorneys that put agreements to allow the title to be cleared,” Trembath said. “These documents along with 100s of others will have to be recorded in order for closing to happen tomorrow.”
Councilman Charlie Powell said that it “is the right thing” for the council to approve the vacation and encroachment agreement. He noted that “it is a violation of state law for any municipality to give property to a private entity.”
“We are following that statute now by going through these negotiations and arranging fair compensation,” he said.
The council approved on first reading a vacation of an alley located near South Washington Street and East Third Street during the meeting. While the city had vacated most streets and alleys in the area “many years ago,” city staff explain in a memo that Banner Health identified the section of alleyway which “was unintentionally omitted from the previous vacations.”
“Banner Health is requiring the county to clean up the vacation of the alley as one of the conditions of the sale,” the memo explains.
While vacations are approved via ordinance and therefore require three readings for final approval, the council’s approval on first reading will allow the WMC transaction to move forward based upon agreements between the parties involved.
The council also approved by resolution the following encroachment agreements and the termination of a license agreement between the City of Casper and the WMC:
Trembath explained in a memo that Natrona County will compensate the City of Casper $67,331.93 as compensation for the encroachments.