County eyes hospital purchase, may borrow funds for payroll, bills

The county is moving forward in the process to borrow funds to pay bills and meet payroll, and also discussing a lease purchase of the former Pioneer Community Hospital property.

In a surprise discussion Monday at the Patrick County Board of Supervisors meeting, Lock Boyce, chairman, said he received an updated offer from Virginia Community Capital (VCC) which owns the property.

Boyce said the VCC offered to lease the property to the county for $1 per year for a minimum of 18-months, or until May, 2020.

Additionally, Boyce said he was told “there is an open road here to get all of those repairs done to that hospital and get it” open and operational through a low interest loan from the VCC.

At the end of the lease, the VCC offered to sell the property to the county for the current appraised value, Boyce said, adding that he advised the VCC official that the most recent appraisal pegged the property’s worth at $800,000 to $1 million.

When asked after the meeting if the purchase price would be determined at the end of the lease and with improvements factored in, Boyce replied “that would be stupid.”

He reiterated the purchase price of the property would be based on the current appraisal, not the property value after the repairs are made and at the time of the sale.

Boyce said that while he was not advised of the offer until recently, “it is a very good offer from VCC and the offer dates back to July 31.”

Boyce distributed a copy of the letter dated July 31 from the VCC to Patrick County Economic Authority Director Debbie Foley.

In the letter, VCC stated its willingness to rent the hospital property for $1 per year under a triple net lease, beginning Sept. 1, 2018 and continuing through June 30, 2019.

A triple net lease requires the tenant to pay rent, property taxes and insurance premiums and other expenses, according to online information.

At the June 30, 2019 end of the lease term, “we would consider a sale of the building at a fair market value to be determined at that date” of June 30, 2019, the letter stated. “This transaction as well as the purchase price on June 2019 would need to be approved by our Board of Directors and the majority investor in the New Markets Tax Credit structure.”

The supervisors will hold a joint meeting with the EDA board to further discuss the issue on Oct. 22 at 6 p.m. in the Patrick County Veterans Memorial Building.

Also in a majority vote on Monday, the supervisors agreed to move forward in the process to borrow up to $3.5 million. The funds will be borrowed as needed and used to help pay personnel and bills, officials said.

Sandra Stone, Treasurer, said the county may be $600,000 short of meeting its obligations this month. She asked the board if the county may withhold donations to other agencies and/or withhold payment of “anything that didn’t have to be paid this month.”

With a hold on contributions, Stone estimated the shortfall could be $400,000.

Additional coverage of the meeting will be available in the Oct. 24 edition of The Enterprise and online at www.theenterprise.net.

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