Healthy Deal

THE GAS and oil boom is making a positive impact in Eastern Ohio.

Many individuals are reaping the benefits of leasing deals. Communities and school districts are also receiving financial boosts from the burgeoning shale industry.

One local town was one of the biggest beneficiaries from oil and gas. Barnesville brokered a $5 million deal with Antero.

The western Belmont County community is also blessed with deft leadership. That was reaffirmed during Monday’s village council meeting.

Dealing with such a large sum of money cast in your midst at one time needs to be dealt with skillfully. Five million dollars, handled correctly, can do many, many good things.

Village council members made one of those good moves Monday night. They decided to deliver funding to Barnesville Hospital. A $1.5 million low-interest loan will be earmarked to upgrade the facility’s emergency room.

Such a transaction is a commendable one and one that will pay dividends in return.

The cash infusion will enable Barnesville Hospital to offer state-of-the-art treatment. As a result, Barnesville-area residents will not have to travel as far for quality care while hospital employees can also feel more secure about their future.

The details of the deal are: 1 percent for years 1 through 5; 1.5 percent for years 6 through 10; 2 percent after 10 years.

Village council’s monetary decision reinforces the bond between government and the community.

Village Economic Development Advisor Bill Knox said it perfectly, “It’s local government at its best.”

Barnesville village officials should be commended for negotiating a profitable leasing deal. They also must be lauded for their prudent use of the windfall.