City approves bonds for ARH project
by Cris Ritchie
HAZARD – The Hazard City Commission on Monday approved a resolution to act as a sponsor for bond issuances to Appalachian Regional Healthcare that will provide funding for ongoing construction at the Hazard hospital.
The resolution in part authorizes the issuance of two bonds in the amount of $20 million each to provide funds for ARH to refinance existing bonds issued in 1997, which should result in significant interest cost savings for the company, according to Louisville attorney Charles Musson, who addressed the commission this week.
The second part of the resolution authorizes a $50 million note issuance to provide funds for the construction project currently underway on Morton Blvd, which will ultimately culminate in additional patient beds, a rooftop helicopter landing pad and upgrades to the emergency room. The project will also create additional jobs for the local community once complete.
According to the resolution, the City of Hazard will act as a sponsor for the bonds, and will be under no financial obligation to repay the debt, as that will be the responsibility of ARH. The city’s role simply helps issue bonds with a lower interest rate.
In other business, the commission voted to approve a resolution for a $384,000 grant to help pay the cost of the Darfork Sanitary Sewer Extension Project, which will install sewage lines to the new elementary school being constructed along Highway 80 in Hazard. The project will be administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development agency.
The commission also heard Police Chief Minor Allen’s monthly report, in which he noted that the city police department opened a total of 44 new cases in September, 25 of which involved felony crimes. The department responded to a total 1,634 calls for service during the month.
Hazard Fire Chief Sam Stacy also presented his report. The city’s two fire stations responded to 59 calls in September, 46 of which were reports of fires in the city and surrounding communities.
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