Town denies waiver of permit fees for PMC retail pharmacy

MEEKER I Meeker’s Board of Trustees denied a request from Pioneers Medical Center (PMC) to waive building permit fees for the construction of a new retail pharmacy center on Tuesday. In a letter addressed to the Town of Meeker, PMC CEO Liz Sellers wrote, “We are excited to be able to offer our Walbridge Wing residents and patients, prescriptions without having to travel out-of-town. Additionally, our contact-less drive-through will provide a safe and convenient way for our community to obtain the medications they need without having to leave their vehicle.” 

Trustee Chris Lockwood suggested tabling the decision, which prompted questions for Sellers and a discussion among the board. 

“As a publicly funded entity, I have an issue with supporting a retail-to-the-public operation that competes with private business in this town,” Lockwood said. Waiving the fee would equate to a statement of support for the proposed pharmacy, he added. 

Sellers said the 29 long-term care residents have prescriptions filled in Grand Junction already, stated the local pharmacy cannot support the volume and that “a lot of our residents get partial prescriptions” which presents a challenge. Additionally, having its own pharmacy would reduce prescription costs for hospital employees. 

“Our intent is not to compete at a large level, our intent is to be able to service our patients, residents and employees,” Sellers said. 

Trustee Travis Day agreed with Lockwood, stating, “it will be competition; I don’t feel we should waive that fee, it’s going to be a pharmacy that is in competition with a taxpaying business.” While the board regularly waives fees for other public entities, it does not generally waive fees for private business. 

Trustee Melissa Kindall said she would like to know the impact a hospital-based retail pharmacy would have on Meeker Drugs, and Lockwood said he would like to hear from the hospital board about the proposed retail pharmacy. 

The board opened bids for the remodel of the bulk water building at the south end of Third Street. Three bids were received, all from local contractors. The bids will be reviewed by town staff and the winning bid awarded at the next meeting. 

Trustees also approved special event liquor permits to the Lions Club for events during the Meeker Mustang Makeover and Jammin’ Lamb. 

Town Manager Mandi Etheridge said there are vacancies on the planning commission and the library board.

TOWN: I-70 traffic continues  

Chief of Police Edward Thompson said in an effort to slow down detoured traffic going through town, they’ve borrowed two digital speed signs from the county, and are hoping the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) may be able to provide a message board. The county’s message boards are in use on County Road 5 where there has been flooding. 

There is no estimated time of reopening for I-70 through Glenwood Canyon, where severe mudslides have damaged the highway. CDOT is attempting to direct commercial traffic passing through Colorado north to I-80 in Wyoming. 

The board held its first 2022 budget work session after the regular meeting, where trustees had an opportunity to prioritize projects.