Thursday, August 15, 2002

Deals offered to attract hospital

Monroe offers Middletown a tax share

By Cindi Andrews,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MONROE — As Middletown Regional Hospital nears a decision on where it will move, Monroe officials on Wednesday announced details of their unprecedented proposal to share revenue with nearby Middletown if the hospital picks their city.

        Monroe would give Middletown half of the income tax revenue from the new hospital and nearby doctors' offices annually, up to the amount generated by the hospital its final 12 months in Middletown, Economic Development Director Jay Stewart said.

        However, Monroe would require Middletown to pick up 62 percent of the cost of initial road improvements while only handing over 50 percent of any payments the hospital or its partners would make toward those improvements.

        “We are under no obligation to pay dollar one to the city of Middletown,” Mr. Stewart noted. “We're trying to honor the hospital's wish to keep Middletown (financially) whole.”

        Middletown Regional announced plans more than 15 months ago to build a hospital on Greentree Road, on the east side of Interstate 75 in Warren County's Turtlecreek Township. However, concerns from some residents and Warren County commissioners about Middletown's proposed annexation of the new hospital site threatened to scuttle the project. This spring, Middletown Regional leaders instead began considering moving to Greentree west of I-75, which is in Monroe.

        Monroe's position is that Middletown should pay a greater share of the road work because it's only Middletown that wants Breiel Boulevard extended to the site, Monroe Mayor Mike Morris said.

        However, that part of the proposal does not sit well with Middletown: “In my mind, a partner is a 50-50 deal,” Mayor David Schiavone said.

        Also, he said, city officials were concerned about initially losing half of the annual revenue from Middletown's second-largest employer.

        Negotiations ended in June, and Middletown officials began their most intense effort yet to get the hospital to forego Greentree for a location at Ohio 122 and Interstate 75 in Middletown — one the hospital had already rejected.

        The hospital is now reconsidering, and the two boards of directors that control Middletown Regional could make a decision about the location by the end of the month.


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