Monroe Commission, hospital authority approve $10 million in bonds to 'save the hospital'

The commission and hospital authority approved $10 million in bonds on Wednesday / Evan Watson (WGXA)

FORSYTH, Ga. -- The Monroe County Hospital Authority and Monroe County Commission approved $10 million in bonds for hospital costs.

Chairman of the Monroe County Commission Greg Tapley said the commission is upholding the wishes of Monroe County residents to keep the hospital up and running.

"They wanted to save the hospital and that's part of what we're going tonight," Tapley said.

In a March special election, residents voted for a tax increase to "support the availability of health care services at the Monroe County Hospital."

Bond attorneys issued $6.2 million in taxable bonds to pay off the existing line of credit and hospital debt.

The other $3.9 million is tax-exempt for renovations to keep the hospital financially successful in the future. The bonds will close on Aug. 10.

They set the interest rate at 3.63 percent, according to bond attorneys. That equals about $635,000 a year in debt service over the term of the bonds.

Tapley said he's comfortable with the interest rate and time frame of the bonds.

"We've got the numbers that we can work with that we can budget for the years to come," Tapley said. "To not bust our county budget adn at the same time help the hospital and make sure they're here to stay."

Once everything is finalized, Tony Ussery, Chairman of the hospital authority, said they will send their renovation plans to the state to begin construction.

"Funding is now set aside so with that being completed we can now move forward, submit plans to the state, have them review them, make sure everything is fine there," Ussery said.

If plans are approved, the hospital will downsize, redesign the emergency room and upgrade equipment. Ussery said he believes this is what the community wants.

"I'm as excited if not more than I was in March," Ussery said. "Again, the vast showing of support that the community has poured out for us has been a great thing. A great thing for the hospital."

Commissioner John Ambrose did not submit a vote on Wednesday because the hospital did not have a representative present to speak on how the hospital has performed the past two quarters.

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