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Published: Thursday, 1/26/2006

Monroe County mulls hospital $50M bond plan

MONROE - Monroe County commissioners have yet to decide whether they'll support a proposal by Monroe's Mercy Memorial Hospital and approve formation of a board to sell bonds totaling $50 million to finance the hospital's three-year renovation/reconstruction project.

The issue was first raised at Tuesday night's commissioners meeting by county Administrator Charles Londo, who supports the initiative. "The commission would create a hospital financing authority to develop the project," he said.

Yesterday, commissioners appeared to be lukewarm on the idea, mostly because they lacked details.

"I want more information to see whether or not this is something we should be doing," board Chairman Jerry Oley said. "This could be a win/win for the hospital and the community, if it's not a liability [for us.] But it's a little premature."

Daniel Wakeman, Mercy's president and chief operating officer, said yesterday that the county will have no obligation on any of the financial issues related to selling the bonds. "The hospital has the full responsibility," he said.

Citing declining business, buyout threats, and antiquated buildings and equipment, Mercy Memorial announced the expansion plans in March. They include demolishing the original hospital building.

Using reserve funds, some of the work began last year.



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