Genesee County Economic Development Center officials are asking Genesee County lawmakers to consider expanding the “jurisdictional reach” of a locally controlled financing unit to facilitate $218 million in bond funds for projects expansion of Rochester Regional Health.
Speaking at the Legislature Ways and Means Committee meeting this afternoon at the Old County Courthouse, GCEDC Chairman Steve Hyde urged passage of a resolution that would allow Genesee County Funding Corp. to act as a bridge bond issuer for a commercial enterprise – either for-profit or not-for-profit – located in Genesee County that conducts business directly or through affiliated entities in other counties in New York State.
The resolution, which was adopted by the committee and forwarded to the entire legislature, calls for an expansion of the GCFC’s “mission and public purpose” to promote economic development and expand jurisdictional reach. by making the GCFC eligible to issue bonds for projects. outside of Genesee County.
If passed, Rochester Regional Health, which operates the United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia as well as health care facilities in other counties, would be the beneficiary of the amendment to the current GCFC Certificate of Incorporation.
Hyde said RRH plans to invest $42 million in Batavia, mostly building a 105,000 square foot medical center off Route 98 north of town, and about $50 million more. in an expansion in Potsdam (Saint-Laurent). County).
“It’s almost $100 million in new money and they’re refinancing existing debt,” he said, noting that issuing the bond through GCFC would allow RRH to earn an interest rate. exempt from corporation tax instead of a taxable rate. “Otherwise they would have to search for multiple bonds in a number of communities and the fees would be much higher.”
He said that the RRH leadership had approached the GCEDC “to use our GCFC, which is a county branch that we run on your behalf (on behalf of the legislature).” The GCFC Board of Directors is made up of five members, all of whom are appointed by the legislature.
Mark Masse, GCEDC’s senior vice president of operations, said Genesee County has seen phenomenal growth in businesses moving into other counties.
“It won’t affect the county’s bond rating,” he said. “It’s similar to a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) with no risk to the county.”
Hyde said RRH is focused on adaptive reuse of its North Street and Bank Street campuses, including expanding senior health care at Jerome Center and possibly razing a few buildings on North Street because parking is a problem.
“And there will be more specialties in the new medical center, such as cardiac and surgical care (enhancements),” he said.
If the legislature votes in favor of the resolution, it would not change the fact that every GCFC-related project would have to be approved by the governing body and a public hearing would have to be held for tax exemption cases, Masse said. .
County Attorney James Wujcik said the wording of the resolution was appropriate, adding that the expansion of the GCFC’s territory “makes Genesee County more attractive for investment.”