Geary County Public Building Commission Seeks $32 Million Revenue Bond Issuance
By Dewey Terrill
There is a plan to save the financially troubled Geary Community Hospital.
At its meeting Thursday, the Geary County Public Buildings Commission passed a resolution asking for approval of up to $32 million in revenue bonds to support the hospital, the county’s chief financial officer said, Tami Robison. “Our intention is to bond $31 million and of that $20 million will be repairs for the hospital, $4 million will be our accounts payable which we expect to pay at the end of December, then the shortfall of $6 million dollars against the shortfall from July to December that the County will pay.” Hospital officials have approached Junction City leaders to help pay for the operating deficit, but so far have received no money. The Geary Community Healthcare Foundation provided $1.5 million, but that needs to be repaid.
The PBC moves are necessary to satisfy a tenancy agreement with Stormont Vail Health, which assumes oversight of operations at the hospital on January 1.
The revenue bonds will be removed by a six million property tax levy that is already in place to support the Geary Community Hospital. This drawdown covers existing general obligation bonds, existing revenue bonds through the PBC, unfunded warrants that will be redeemed in 2024, and new bond issuance. The $32 million bond issue is expected to be paid in 2048. No increase would be necessary in the levy of property tax.
A current quarter-cent sales tax was also used to help retire existing general bonds that were used to pay for the expansion of the west side of the hospital many years ago.
Over the bond redemption period through 2048, Robison explained one benefit. “Part of structuring long-term debt is to not overburden today’s taxpayers and spread that out over the years so that today’s taxpayers and taxpayers both benefit from the benefit and liability of those charged.”
The plan is to publish the resolution in the newspaper followed by a period of public protest. If there is a petition filed with the county clerk’s office containing the signatures of five percent of registered voters in the most recent certification to the secretary of state’s office, then it would be placed on a future ballot.