City, hospital negotiations stalled

Published 8:44 pm Tuesday, March 24, 2009

And so a hospital resolution draws on.

After weeks of requests and discussions over extending a current agreement with hospital owners, the Troy City Council deferred voting on a proposal until Monday when doctors are set to make a public presentation.

This comes after owners initially have asked the city to extend an in-place agreement to back hospital investors for another five years and up the purchase price to $15 million, from the now $10.5 million.

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Those requests were met with initial reluctance from council members, and while the city did not make a decision in Tuesday’s meeting, a formal position was made clear.

“All I know is we are not going to extend beyond $10.5 million,” said Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford.

But the council may consider extending its backing of hospital investors for another five years, which would assist doctors in securing financing, at the presentation Monday at noon.

“Based on what’s presented to us, a decision on any further extension will be made at that time,” Lunsford said.

The presentation is set just one day prior to when the current agreement is set to expire.

If the council decides not to agree to an extension, Lunsford said the city should stand ready to acquire hospital keys.

“If the council does not vote to extend the period of the city’s current commitment beyond March 31, 2009, then I recommend that the city stand ready to acquire the assets of the hospital pursuant to the terms of the loan letter and ready to enter into good faith negotiations with Troy Doctors Hospital, LLC.,” Lunsford said.

If the city does agree to extend the timeframe, it will be bound to purchase the hospital at an agreed price any time within the five-year period should doctor owners no longer be able to afford the property.

The city wouldn’t take definite ownership unless the doctors chose to hand over the deeds, but the city stands firm in that it will not allow the hospital to close in Troy.

And, if the city does take ownership, Lunsford said he isn’t sure whether they will run the hospital themselves or sell it to another entity.

The presentation Monday will be open to the public, at noon in the conference room at Troy City Hall.