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Legislators disappointed that hospital stands to lose millions in borrowing deal

Erie County Legislature Chairman John Mills, Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo, Legislator Edward Rath and Legislator Ted Morton put forward an amendment, which was also supported by Legislator Lynne Dixon, to remove the “credit mechanism” from the ECMC borrowing proposal, which will cost ECMC tens of millions of dollars when it borrows funds for its new emergency room.


The amendment, which failed (6-5), would have allowed the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority to borrow $120 million for ECMC, and allow ECMC to keep all $120 million. The amendment attempted to eliminate the requirement from Erie County that ECMC give tens of millions of dollars to Erie County as a fee for allowing them to borrow through the ECFSA.


“I support ECMC building a new ER and I support the ECFSA doing the borrowing to allow ECMC to benefit from its excellent bond rating. What I haven’t supported from the very beginning was the credit scheme that essentially rips millions of dollars from ECMC and gives it to Erie County. ECMC should keep and benefit from the savings,” said Chairman John Mills. “This is supposed to be a plan to benefit the hospital but when you look into the merits of the plan, it punishes the hospital and its patients.”


“I am disappointed that a majority of the Legislature refused to amend the Declaration of Need to allow ECMC to keep the entirety of their realized savings by borrowing through the ECFSA. When Legislators continually leave the Chambers to discuss privately with the administration, the process reeks of politics. Instead of taking a firm stance today in support of ECMC, those who refused to vote for my amendment today took a firm stance for the County Executive,” said Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo. “Anyone who says today’s vote was supportive of ECMC is lying.”


“After months of discussion and weighing the merits of this plan, I am disappointed that some of my colleagues in the Legislature still support the credit mechanism. The hospital should benefit from the savings and be able to focus on its mission of providing level one care for our community. Today’s vote was a vote against the best possible outcome for ECMC,” said Legislator Edward Rath.


“Seeing my colleagues support the credit mechanism is disappointing. We all agree that ECMC needs a new emergency room. However, just because the time has come for the hospital to do a renovation project does not mean Erie County should be standing ready and willing to take millions of dollars from the hospital. ECMC needs money for a new ER and the control board is willing to borrow. I believe the issue should be that simple and the County Executive should not be requiring a credit mechanism that hurts the hospital,” said Legislator Ted Morton.