Development Authority approves $30 million bond issue

PETER J. APOLThe St Johns County Industrial Development Authority reported to Historic City News that the county agency has approved the issuance of up to $30 million in industrial revenue bonds to support the expansion of Flagler Hospital, Inc and thus bring new jobs to the area.

“The funding will support the expansion and improvements of the not-for-profit hospital in St Augustine which is consistently recognized for overall clinical excellence,” said Lindsay Ballas Kimball; an employee of the Development Authority’s outside government affairs and economic development consultant in Jacksonville; Infinity Global Solutions, LLC.

Reportedly, Flagler plans improvements that include acquisition and installation of an electronic medical records system and an upgrade to the nurse-call system.

“For more than 100 years, Flagler Hospital has played an integral role in our community — providing quality healthcare and stable jobs for St Johns County residents,” said Peter Apol, chair of the St Johns County Industrial Development Authority. “Consistent with the mission of the St Johns County Industrial Development Authority, to assist companies and non-profits with their capital financing needs, we are pleased to provide Flagler Hospital with the resources necessary to continue its expansion and investment in our community.”

The project also consists of renovating patient rooms, adding medical equipment and monitoring systems, replacing patient beds, acquiring and installing new fixtures, furnishings and equipment.

In the short term, the project is expected to generate 30 jobs during the construction phase. Longer term, the expansion will support 12 new, permanent, information technology jobs at the hospital, paying in the range of $65,000 to $80,000.

Industrial revenue bonds are tax-exempt obligations issued by governmental bodies to facilitate the financing of qualified business projects. The debt service on the bonds is paid by the private organization benefiting from the funds; in this case, Flagler Hospital, Inc.

“These bonds are a win-win for St Johns County and Flagler Hospital; as they do not create any risk or financial liability for the County — even in the case of a default,” Apol said.

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