Bob Fink, founder of the Ridgeview Institute, retired CEO and current board chair, said issuing the revenue anticipation bonds Feb. 19 will be like refinancing a home mortgage.
“In 1998, we had a bond financing to replace previous bonds. It was for additions. There was one patient cottage and a day hospital,” he said. “Now we’re refinancing the 1998 debt.”
That debt was $8.3 million at 6.25 percent from Wachovia Bank, which Fink said has been negotiated down to 2.9 percent through Wells Fargo.
The city needed to vote on it because its hospital authority is issuing the bonds, he said, but there is no cost to taxpayers.
“We always had the connection with Smyrna,” Fink said about mayors serving on its board since 1975. “Now that we’re refinancing the bonds, the bonds have to be issued through the authority so they will be tax-exempt, because we are a nonprofit,” he said.
A rented cottage is wrapped up in the new bond package, according to City Councilman Wade Lnenicka, who is on the board of the nonprofit’s neighbor, Woodland Ridge Senior Living.
“Part of the proceeds will be used to purchase the cottage property from Woodland Ridge. Ridgeview wants to buy the property because they plan to use the cottage long-term,” he said.
Besides a cash infusion, the purchase will also save on long-term expenses for the senior living community.
“It avoids future financial capital expenditures for the Woodland Ridge board like if it needs a new roof or new electrical system,” he said.
Lnenicka recused himself from the vote Monday, citing “an abundance of caution” in preventing the appearance of impropriety.
“I don’t know if there’s a conflict of interest because I don’t have an interest in Ridgeview, but our city attorney suggested because Ridgeview was planning to buy some land from Woodland Ridge, it was best to recuse myself,” he said Wednesday.
Mayor Max Bacon said Lnenicka should have voted because the hospital, which the mayor called “a great corporate partner providing a great service,” lies in the councilman’s ward.
“I disagreed with recusing himself because I think he’s either a council member or a board member,” Bacon said. “When you have something like this, I think it’s very important that you have someone there representing the city. Who does he represent? The citizens of Ward 6 or this volunteer board he’s on?”
Redistricting maps OK’d
The city council voted 6-0, with Councilwoman Andrea Blustein out sick, to approve the new redistricting maps.
Councilman Ron Fennel said questions from residents of two wards were resolved.
Fennel said because residential growth was highest in his ward — including his own move there 10 years ago — he will lose about 40 percent of his constituents.
“It’s where the growth happens that defines where you draw the line. Everything below the Silver Comet Trail will be in Ward 7,” he said.
Fennel said he and Lnenicka held joint town hall meetings Thursday to go over the changes, which affect both their wards.
The new maps will go to the state Legislature for approval this session, Fennel said.