Circuit Judge Eddie Hardaway issued an order validating the issuance of $2.75 million for the operation and maintenance of the Greene County Health System (GCHS) dated September 19, 2016. Hardaway issued his order following a public hearing in the Greene County Courtroom, to give the public an opportunity to comment on the issuance of the bond.
The bond issue will be financed by Citizens Trust Bank, over ten years at 4% interest, with annual payments on September 1st of each year. The bonds are backed by the proceeds of a one-cent sales tax levied since 1977, by the County Commission, on behalf of the hospital and other units of GCHS.
In his order, Hardaway references the official documents presented at the hearing including the GCHS Board of Directors resolution authorizing the issuance of bonds, the financing agreement between Citizens Trust Bank and GCHS, and the specifics of the law levying the one-cent sales tax.
An important part of the order is the statement, “that the Court expressly finds (i) that the Pledged Tax Proceeds have been duly pledged as security for payment of the Bond and (ii) the levy and collection of the Pledged Tax Proceeds by or on behalf of the County, and the pledge thereof by the Board in favor of the Bond, shall continue to be valid and binding on such parties for so long as the bond is outstanding, regardless of whether the Hospital shall continue to operate, because the operating expenses financed by the Bond were incurred in connection with the operation of the Hospital.”
District Attorney Gregg Griggers represented the State of Alabama and the people of Greene County at the public hearing. He raised some questions about the utilization of bond funds and management of the hospital, nursing home, physician’s clinic and home health care service but overall was supportive of the validation of the bond issue. No individual citizens or anyone else requested to testify at the hearing to oppose issuance of the bonds.
In his order, Judge Hardaway indicates that he reviewed and considered all issues and concerns raised at the hearing in issuing his order to validate the bond issue.
Frank McPhillips, bond counsel for the GCHS, said that the bank would be able to issue and finance the bonds fourteen (14) days after Hardaway’s ruling. As indicated at the hearing, the proceeds of the bonds will be issued to pay operating and maintenance expenses, including unpaid patrol taxes, for the Greene County Health System.
Elmore Patterson, CEO of GCHS said, “ I am hopefully that we will soon have the bond funds to satisfy outstanding expenses which are on a long list. We appreciate the patience of our creditors and suppliers. We hope to be in a better position to render health care to the residents of Greene County once this matter is favorably concluded.”