During a low-key ceremony, city and hospital officials signed the official documents for the proposed Memorial Health System lease to the University of Colorado Health.

Committee members chosen specifically for the task – Councilors Merv Bennett, Brandy Williams. Jan Martin and City Attorney Chris Melcher – signed on behalf of the city, while UCH CEO Bruce Schroffel and Poudre Valley CEO Rulon Stacey signed for the hospital.

The step is the last formal act needed before the vote Aug. 28, officials said. In the meantime, Schroffel said he would start planning meetings to ensure a smooth transition. Attorney General John Suthers will issue a ruling on the lease in the next 60 days.

Martin said it was necessary to sign the lease now, to assure voters there would be no additional changes before the vote Aug. 28. If voters fail to approve the lease, it simply won’t go into effect.

In the meantime, University administrators are starting to learn more about the internal operations at Memorial.

“We’ve been meeting with physicians, and we’ll continue to do that,” Schroffel  said. “We just want to make sure the transition is smooth.”

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The group, which included Mayor Steve Bach, said the step was a positive action in the midst of the tragedy that occurred last week when the Waldo Canyon fire swept into the Mountain Shadows neighborhood.

“Even in the midst of tragedy, we have to rebuild and move forward,” Melcher said. “And this is an important step – to ensure that we have the best health care available that we can.”

UCH also gave Bach a check for $50,000 to the Red Cross for fire victims.