By Joe Morey News Editor
A second meeting is planned between the LCO Tribal Governing Board and tribal officials with a team from the Shakopee Sioux Tribe, which includes Chairman Vig and the council, regarding financing for the new health and wellness center proposed to be located at the corner of highways B and K across from the Sevenwinds casino.
Tribal officials will meet with Shakopee on Feb. 28 in Prior Lake, Mn.
“We want to get the ball rolling so that we can try to do what is best for the health and wellness of our community,” said Jason Weaver, LCO Secretary-Treasurer. “Again, the Tribal Council will try to reach out and get input from the Medical staff, Health Advisory Board and our community to determine what is needed, what is wanted and how can we financially justify a new medical facility.”
The tribe is applying for Joint Venture Funding through the Indian Health Service (IHS) which would fund operations and staffing of the clinic for 20 years.
Other funding for the project may include financing from the Shakopee Sioux Tribe. Tom Ranfranz, Shakopee Mdewakanton tribal liaison, said they have lent in excess of $600 million for tribal projects and their tribal grants program gives $11 million to $18 m per year.
The grants program allows a Tribe to apply for up to $500,000 per year. LCO wouldn’t be restricted for applying each year for this amount to help with the new health and wellness center costs.
Ranfranz explained at the January meeting at LCO that taking the loan through Shakopee, the tribe would pay 6.5% interest over the duration of a 15-year loan. He said some tribes choose to pursue a USDA loan that would extend for 40 years and provide the tribe a much better cash flow, but in the long run, will pay a lot more.
“The good news is almost all the other Tribes around Lac Courte Oreilles have already done it and it is working well and Financially sustainable,” Weaver said “If we are able to get the Indian Health Service Joint Venture agreement we will save millions in operational cost for the next 20 years.”