Opp will proceed with Mizell bonds

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The City of Opp will proceed in its efforts to help secure a $6.5 million bond issue to help Mizell Mem-orial Hospital.

A public hearing was held before Monday night’s council meeting, and there was no objection or comments about the city’s plans.

City attorney Wesley Laird said Mizell plans to use the money to refinance a current bond issue that faces rising interests levels, purchase needed equipment and make needed renovations.

“This does not have to do with the hospital’s ability to make a profit,” Laird said.

In July 2010, it was announced the hospital’s financial situation was forcing a number of changes, including the exploration of funding options, implementing a reduced workweek and a 10 percent pay reduction for salaried employees.

The council agreed in December to underwrite the bond issue to assist the hospital in paying off more than $4.7 million in outstanding bonds.

“Recent effects of the market have caused Mizell’s interest rates on the bond to go up tremendously,” Mizell CEO Jana Wyatt said previously. “By the city backing the new bond issue, their excellent credit rating will help the hospital secure a lower fixed interest rate than we could obtain on our own.”

Mayor H.D. Edgar said the city has “excellent credit” and will back the bond issues, and the hospital will make the payments. The amount of the payment will depend on the interest rate for which the bond are sold, he said.

Laird said Monday, the city is taking a mortgage on the hospital for insurance purposes.