The Cortland County Legislature convened for a special session Tuesday, ultimately approving a resolution that expresses support for regional nonprofit healthcare provider Guthrie Clinic to seek an amount not to exceed $175 million in tax-exempt financing for further expansion of operations.
According to Guthrie’s Senior Director of Treasury Joe Joyce, the resolution approved unanimously by the legislature does not ask for financial guarantees or commitments from the county.
“(The counties of Tompkins, Chemung, and Steuben) have approved the same resolution. At the end of the day, it doesn’t obligate the county to do anything other than provide your support to Guthrie, in a resolution that states we appreciate you borrowing money on a tax exempt basis to invest the health and welfare of our community,” Joyce said. “There is no obligation, guarantee, no commitment of any kind. (It’s) a soft blessing that the Internal Revenue Service asked us to get from the counties where we identified projects that we have the blessing of that county to invest there through a tax-exempt bond issue.”
Joyce said Guthrie Clinic, which operates in upstate New York and some parts of Pennsylvania, is requesting a loan for an amount not to exceed $250 million.
According to the resolution, $175 million can be non-taxable bonds from the Central Bradford Progress Authority, an economic development corporation serving the counties of Bradford and Susquehanna in Pennsylvania.
According to the resolution, the bond funding would go toward financing and reimbursing a portion of the costs of some of the nonprofit’s recent expansion projects. This includes the $10.6 million Renzi Cancer Center in the city of Cortland, and their $10 million medical office building project in Ithaca.
County Legislator Kevin Fitch (R-LD 8) noted that backing Guthrie can help the county grow.
“Guthrie is a great partner to the county,” Fitch said. “The financing is not an obligation for us, which is even better for us. This is a great vote for us to help grow the medical field in Cortland.”
Guthrie Clinic chief financial officer Matt Huff thanked the county for backing the resolution.
“Part of our mission statement is to partner with our communities to ensure lifelong health and wellness for each individual,” Huff said. “We recognize that part of achieving that mission is a capital commitment, so we appreciate your support so we have the flexibility to make those investments into the community to be able to achieve that mission that is so critical to all of us.”