MISSOULA — The City of Missoula purchased the Sleepy Inn in early April to be used as an isolation shelter for those needing quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Missoula will have received $260,000 in rent payments on the Sleepy Inn property by the end of September.
Missoula County pays the city for the use of the property, using funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The County has been making payments for the use of the property since March and will be reimbursed for the spending later.
"The county pays the city a lease payment a monthly lease payment for exclusive use of that property for our purposes," explained Missoula County Office of Emergency Management Director Adriene Beck.
"We have already submitted our first request for reimbursement for the months of March, April and June -- and those are being reviewed by FEMA. But we have not received any reimbursement yet."
The $260,000 the city will receive by the end of September is roughly one-quarter of the $1.1 million purchase price of the Sleepy Inn property.
Opponents of the purchase say that it still costs the taxpayers money.
"At the end of the day we have taken that money from the taxpayers and then we are getting reimbursed by the taxpayer so It doesn’t make any sense," Missoula City Council Ward 4 representative Jesse Ramos said about payment for the project. "It's like if you are a taxpayer. It's like taking money out of your savings account and paying yourself back with your 401k. It's still your money."
Beck told MTN News that for the County, the property has been beneficial.
"Being able to put together all the logistical pieces to operate one facility has been extremely beneficial for our planning purposes and has allowed us to be very responsive to the needs of people that need to access non congregate shelter at any hour of the day any day of the week."
Our media partners at the Missoula Current report roughly 70 people have used the non-congregate shelter so far.