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Monroe Commissioners approve hospital bond issue

Published August 16. 2018 12:36PM

On Wednesday the Monroe County Commissioners adopted a resolution approving the financing for up to $100 million in taxable bonds to be issued for the benefit of St. Luke’s University Health Network.

The financing was approved by the Pocono Mountains Industrial Park Authority, which operates as a Monroe County Authority and is a part of the Pocono Mountains Economic Development Corporation.

The money will be used to refinance about $40 million in debt related to health care facilities located in Monroe County, and approximately 60 percent of the bond revenue will be used for new projects, most of which will be located outside Monroe County.

The county’s responsibility in passing the resolution was to authorize the authority to proceed with the financing as long as the project was deemed to be “desirable for the health, safety and general welfare of the area.”

Chairman John Moyer raised a concern that although the county incurs no obligations under the financing agreement, the majority of the money loaned would be used outside the county, and that seemed unusual.

Chuck Leonard, of the Pocono Mountains Economic Development Corporation, said it was not unusual for businesses to shop around for the best “deal” when looking to raise funds through bond issues.

“The county stands to earn around $100,000,” Wagner said.

Tom Lichtenwalner, CFO of St. Luke’s, assured the commissioners that the hospital network is in excellent financial shape.

“We just began our fiscal year on July 1 with a $226 million budget,” Lichtenwalner said. “While some of the 60 percent could realistically be spent in Monroe County, the majority will most likely be spent in Northampton County.”

Moyer asked Lichtenwalner if Northampton County had a similar authority and why choose Monroe County.

“Yes they do, but frankly we got a better rate from Monroe County,” Lichtenwalner said. “It was purely a financial decision.”

The Pocono Mountains Industrial Park Authority was created by and operates as a Monroe County Authority and is a part of the Pocono Mountains Economic Development Corporation.

Other business

The commissioners approved subcontracts under the State Food Purchase Program totaling $166,700 for the fiscal year 2018-19. Subcontracts totaling $45,176 for the Homeless Assistance Program for fiscal year 2018-19. Human Services Development Fund grant subcontracts totaling $84,157 were approved for fiscal year 2018-19.

Third and fourth quarter Community Services Block Grant Program allocations in the amount of $170,766 for Monroe County and $42,690 for Pike County were also approved.

Purchase of Services agreements were approved for Monroe County Children and Youth in an amount totaling $1.6 million.

A three-year contract with Congregate Meal was approved for Monroe County Meals on Wheels at $4.95 per unit with a total of $32,179.95.

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