CLAYTON (KMOX) – St. Louis County’s health director is requesting legislative permission to spend $580,231.59 that had just come her attention.
The dollars were deposited in 1985-86, after the sale of the old County Hospital’s land.
In an email obtained by KMOX and sent last Tuesday, Dr. Dolores Gunn asked for county council members’ approval to “reallocate these funds” toward a new public health campus slated to open in August. She would then be able to transfer the same amount of money back to her department’s general fund for spending elsewhere.
Gunn said the balance recently “has come to our attention.”
County councilman Greg Quinn reacted: “You would think that during what was claimed to be a fiscal crisis, that the health department would have been going through their books, looking for every dollar they could find.
“I think it’s particularly tough for the people that got laid off.”
26 county employees were given pink slips earlier this year, including 20 full-time staffers in the parks department and six part-time public works employees. No lay-offs occurred in the health department.
Gunn notes in her email that the newly uncovered funds “are restricted to the building of a future health building,” so the money will continue to sit if she isn’t allowed to spend it on this project.
“At this time I do not foresee the building of another health facility in the near future,” she wrote.
Dear Councilman O’ Mara,
During the process of building the new health campus it has come to our attention that the Health and Hospital Premises Fund still had remaining funds left in it. This account was established between 1985-1986 under the direction of then County Executive Gene McNary. The funds resulted from the sell of the County Hospital and lands. The proceeds were intended for the capital build out and capital equipment of the old John C. Murphy, South County Health Center and North Central Community Health Center. The fund balance principal remaining from the sell is $580,231.59. This does not include accrued interest. With your approval we would like to reallocate these funds to the capital improvements of the New Public Health Campus opening August 2012. A request for legislation has been sent. This would offset expenditures in our 2012 budget that could be returned to the Health Department’s general fund. In addition, we would close out the Health and Hospital Premises fund. If not approved we would allow the account to remain open with the understanding the funds are restricted to the building of a future health building. At this time I do not foresee the building of another health facility in the near future.
Thank you for your assistance. Please call me with any questions.