SARANAC LAKE - The Franklin County Legislature and the Franklin County Civic Development Corporation have signed off on Adirondack Health's plan to refinance millions of dollars in debt it incurred from a series of building projects over the last 20 years.
At a special meeting April 30, the Civic Development Corporation gave final approval to issuing $14 million in tax-exempt bonds for the refinancing, according to John Tubbs, director of the Franklin County Industrial Development Agency.
Four days later, the county Legislature voted unanimously to approve the bonds. Their approval was required in order for the bonds to be tax exempt, Tubbs said.
The resolution stresses that there is no liability to the county for the bonds, which several legislators said was important to highlight.
Adirondack Health officials have said the refinancing will save the hospital about $150,000 a year in interest.
"That's money we can reinvest back in programs, services and staff training," Adirondack Health spokesman Joe Riccio said last month. "It makes sense to do it, if you can do it."
Specifically, the money will be used to refund old bonds the hospital was issued in the 1990s to pay for the building of an intensive care wing and new emergency room, renovations to the surgical area and other projects at the Adirondack Medical Center hospital in Saranac Lake. The new bonds would also help Adirondack Health refinance a loan it used to renovate and expand Mercy Living Center nursing home in Tupper Lake, add a dialysis unit to the nursing home and build a new medical office building on Stetson Road in Tupper Lake. The new bonds would also reimburse some of the hospital's expenses for its $2.7 million Wound and Hyperbaric Treatment Center off of Old Lake Colby Road, which was built last year and recently opened.
Tubbs and IDA attorney Paul Cantwell attended the May 3 meeting of the Franklin County board to see the results of the vote and answer legislators' questions.
"I think we all realize the significance of Adirondack Medical Center," said Tim Burpoe, Saranac Lake's representative on the board, "and how important it is to the people of not only Franklin County but the Adirondacks."
"It really does save them a substantial amount of money," Cantwell told the board.
The CDC held a public hearing at the end of April. No one showed up, and it was closed after an hour.