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Aurora hospital tax abatement efforts fails on GF Council's 3-3 tie vote

A motion to approve a two-year tax abatement for the new Aurora Medical Park hospital failed tonight on a tie vote by the Grand Forks City Council.

A motion to approve a two-year tax abatement for the new Aurora Medical Park hospital failed tonight on a tie vote by the Grand Forks City Council.

The vote was 3-3, with Council member Doug Christensen abstaining because of past work for some principals in the Aurora project. Mayor Mike Brown did not vote to break the tie because he works as a doctor at Altru Health System, which opposed the abatements.

Council members Bob Brooks, Mike McNamara and Art Bakken voted in favor, while Council President Hal Gershman joined Eliot Glassheim and Curt Kreun in casting "no" votes.

Council members voted on a motion to approve a 100-percent tax abatement the first year and a 50-percent abatement the second.

The City Council's decision ended weeks of discussion about whether the city should subsidize another hospital.

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Aurora officials made headlines at the beginning of the month when they approached the City Council to request a five-year, 100-percent tax abatement worth about $2.6 million on the new building at an April 2 meeting.

Representatives from Altru, a not-for-profit institution, lobbied heavily against the abatement.

After hearing arguments from both sides, council members voted April 10 to table Aurora's request for two weeks in order to independently research the issue.

Aurora officials would like to build a physician-owned acute care hospital on the south end of Grand Forks. The 70-bed facility would provide inpatient medical, inpatient surgical, labor and delivery, intensive care and 24-hour emergency services.

The new hospital building would be valued at $20 million to 25 million.

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