Northumberland County approves GHS to use bond funds for projects
SUNBURY - Northumberland County commissioners Tuesday gave Geisinger Health System the approval it needs in accordance with state and federal laws to permit the use of bond funds for projects in the county.
One of the projects is the expansion of The Ressler Center on the Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital (G-SACH) campus, and with it will come additional services from a new ophthalmology clinic and an after-hours urgent care clinic. It is expected to be open July 19.
Members of Geisinger Authority, which was established to finance certain capital projects of Geisinger Health System and other non-profit organizations within the county, approached the commissioners during the public meeting, which was recessed until a public hearing was conducted.
David Cutright, director of treasury operations, said they are requesting to proceed with up to $230 million in new bond financing plus potential debt refinancing.
The county assumes no responsibility other than granting approval, as required, under the federal Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 and the Municipal Authorities Act of 1945.
In addition to the $230 million Geisinger expects to spend in funding new health care facilities and equipment, Cutright said up to another $570 million of bonds may be used to replace existing debt if interest rates are favorable, for a total bond issue of up to $800 million.
However, he added, no more than $300 million is likely.
Proceeds from the proposed bond issue will be used to benefit patients served by Geisinger through acquisitions, renovation and construction in eight counties, including Northumberland, Centre, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Montour, Schuylkill and Union.
Cutright was joined by Dr. Maria Kobylinski, chair of community practice; Pam Cooke, operations manager; Al Neuner, vice president of facilities operations; Lori Gramley, litigation counsel, and Amber Wickard, public relations/marketing specialist.
When the public hearing was adjourned, the public meeting reconvened and the commissioners unanimously approved Geisinger's plan.
Commissioner Vinny Clausi thanked Cutright and his Geisinger associates for providing a large number of jobs for county residents and saving G-SACH from closing.
Commissioners Stephen Bridy and Rick Shoch reiterated Clausi's comments.
In other business during the 16-minute county meeting, the commissioners approved the authorization for Children and Youth Services to purchase a 2013 Dodge DR Caravan SE at a cost of $22,137 from Zimmerman Enterprise Inc. through the Costars Piggyback Program.