This week Republican Legislators representing Nassau County suggested a new bond proposal for the Nassau County Medical Center. For months the legislators have been working with County Executive Thomas Gulotta to come up with a plan to restructure the NCMC in a way that is best for all concerned parties.
This new proposal, which was publicly announced on Monday, cuts the amount of the bond that the county would insure for a Public Benefits Corporation from $106 million to $53 million. This money is for the lease of the hospital property to the PBC. In the first year, the county will receive $24 million from the PBC, and the rest will be paid off over the next couple of years.
The county is turning the hospital and the A. Holly Patterson Geriatric Center over to the PBC in hopes that it will free the medical center from the bureaucratic problems associated with it being owned by the county. The PBC, which is headed up by Chairman Eric Rosenblum, from Levittown, will allow for the hospital to get equipment, staffing, and improvements without having to go through governmental procedures as they do now. Since it would no longer be county-run, the PBC could do whatever needed to be done without having to wait months for it to be approved.
This new plan has these same intentions, but is less risky for the county. If for some reason the PBC failed, the county would have the hospital reverted back to them and the taxpayers would be responsible for paying off the bonds, issued by Paine Webber.
Legislator Dennis Dunne, who represents Levittown, Salisbury, and Wantagh says that this new plan is one that he and the rest of the Republican Legislators feel much more comfortable with. The major problem with this new bond amount is that in the original plan the county would have received $36 million in the first year so that money was already figured into the budget. According to Dunne the $12 million that the budget will be shy will be a lot easier to make up than the $106 million if the PBC fails. He feels that this plan is much more responsible and that they did not act hastily in coming up with this offer. He says that many people criticized them for dragging their feet but the legislators wanted to make sure that they had a plan that everybody could live with.
This plan is just an offer and must be accepted by the PBC in order for it to go through. They can either accept it, reject it, or change it so that everyone can live with it. Negotiations will take place with Rosenblum.
According to Dunne, the Legislators have done a lot of soul searching and homework to come up with this plan. The legislators spoke to Paine Webber, the county's budget people, and council members to come up with the new bond figure. Dunne says that they "did not want the county taxpayers to be left high and dry with a $106 million monkey on their back." He believes that Gulotta is on board with this proposal. According to Dunne this plan "is so logical it has to work."