Aug 05, 2022

Geary County Public Building Commission requests a $32 million revenue bond issue

Posted Aug 05, 2022 5:54 PM

By Dewey Terrill

JC Post

There is a plan to save the financially challenged Geary Community Hospital.

Meeting on Thursday the Geary County Public Building Commission adopted a resolution requesting the authorization of up to $32 million in revenue bonds to support the hospital, said County Finance Director Tami Robison.  "Our intent is to bond out $31 million and of that $20 million will be repairs for the hospital, $4 million will be our accounts payable that we anticipate paying at the end of December and then the $6 million shortfall from the revenue shortfall from July to December that the County will be paying." Hospital officials approached Junction City leaders about helping pay the operational shortfall but so far have not received any money. The Geary Community Healthcare Foundation provided $1.5 million but that must be repaid. 

The moves by the PBC are necessary to satisfy a lease agreement with Stormont Vail Health, who assumes oversight of operations at the hospital on Jan. 1.

The revenue bonds will be retired by a six-mill property tax levy that is already in effect to support Geary Community Hospital. That levy covers existing general obligation bonds, existing revenue bonds through the PBC, no-fund warrants that will be paid off in 2024 and the new bond issue. The $32 million bond issue would be scheduled for payoff in 2048. There would not be any increase necessary  in the property tax levy.

A current one-quarter cent sales tax has also been used to help retire the existing general obligation bonds which were used to pay for the west side expansion of the hospital many years ago.  

On the time frame of paying off the bonds through 2048, Robison explained a benefit. "Part of the structure of long-term debt is so that you don't over burden the taxpayers of today and you spread that out over the years so the taxpayers of today and the taxpayers get both the benefit and also have the responsibility of those costs."

The plan is to publish the resolution in the newspaper followed by a public protest period. If there is a petition filed with the county clerk's office containing signatures from five percent of  the registered voters in the most recent certification to the Secretary of State's Office, it would then be placed on a future election ballot.