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Geisinger may bring $200 million to area in 2020

By DEREK DANNEKER

For The Express

WILLIAMSPORT — The Lycoming County commissioners approved the Geisinger Authority’s application to distribute tax-exempt bonds Thursday. The hospital could bring up to $200 million to the area, said officials.

“In addition to providing healthcare, the economic impact is extremely important for rural Pennsylvania,” said Commissioner Rick Mirabito.

Healthcare is the primary driver for jobs and economic development in the state’s 47 rural counties, he said.

Though the 2019-20 plan of finance would allow for $1 billion, the majority of that money will be in refinancing, said Tim Fitzgerald, vice-president of treasury at Geisinger.

“The county is not obligated for these bonds, no taxpayers are obligated for these bonds,” he said. “The taxing authorities want to know that we are, in fact, using those bonds for valid charitable purpose before they give us that tax exemption.”

The money would be used for healthcare facilities, equipment and software used in the healthcare industry, said Fitzgerald.

“We saw 300,000 outpatients in Lycoming County in the past year, 2,600 inpatient cases, and 36,000 new patients,” he said. ” Just under one-third of the county had some level of medical care at Geisinger.”

Jersey Shore Hospital, which recently joined the Geisinger ranks, spends $24.5 million-a-year, which creates an economic impact of around $40 million, he said.

System-wide, Geisinger has provided $78 million of care for indigent programs and $642 million for government programs for which they wouldn’t recoup their costs.

Commissioner Tony Mussare said it’s important the hospitals develop to ensure the aging population is properly cared for.

“As a commissioner I appreciate you investing in our community, and the quality of care you give,” he said.

In other business, the commissioners:

∫ Approved the Help America Vote Act of 2002 grant application.

∫ Approved the 25-year lease agreement with Lycoming Community Care, Inc.

∫ Approved the purchase agreement with Logistic Systems, Inc for $45,871.

∫ Approved the Community Development Block Grant for the professional services agreement with SEDA-Council of Governments for $105,540, American Rescue Workers for building renovations for $98,519, South Williamsport for the Meadow Alley stormwater project, and Jersey Shore for the Seventh Avenue project for $76,659.

∫ Approved a memorandum of understanding with West Branch Drug and Alcohol for $45,000 for their services in juvenile and adult probation.

∫ Awarded a contract for bread products on an as-needed basis with Bimbo Bakeries USA, Inc. for the prison and pre-release center.

∫ Approved the Criminal Justice Advisory Board technical assistance and training grant application for $1,400 for its partnership with Lycoming College’s recidivism study.

All commissioners were present.

The next public meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday in the commissioners’ briefing room at Executive Plaza, 330 Pine St.

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