Citrus Memorial to join HCA; board drops county property taxes to zero

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Citrus County residents will soon be getting a break on property taxes, as officials voted to transfer the lease of Citrus Memorial Hospital into private control.

The Citrus County Hospital Board of Trustees (CCHB) announced on Monday their recommendation to have Citrus Memorial become the newest hospital in the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) chain.

The CCHB is urging the Citrus Memorial Health Foundation, which oversees the facility, to vote in favor of executing the master agreement, giving HCA oversight of taxpayer revenue used for operations.

In a statement released on Monday, Trey Crabb, Ziegler managing director and transaction consultant, listed the benefits of the HCA deal:

  • Creation of a charitable trust to be used for health care initiatives
  • 100 percent of the net proceeds from the lease will benefit residents of Citrus County
  • Hospital bonds will be funded
  • Pensions will be secured
  • HCA will pay approximately $2 million in property taxes

Based on the pending lease transfer, CCHB also voted to reduce the county property tax rate to zero from the current 1.250 mills.  The final tax hearing will be in September.

“Today, after several months of due diligence by HCA and negotiations among all the parties, the CCHB voted to execute the master agreement and lease agreement to transfer operations of the Citrus Memorial Hospital to HCA,” Crabb said.

Once the Foundation accepts the decision the transaction would then go to state and federal authorities for approval, with a targeted close date of October 31.

“This historic arrangement will provide health care for Citrus County and surrounding communities for many years to come,” Crabb added.

“Today, the CCHB agreed to terms with HCA and is moving closer to ensuring quality health care, while bringing more than $45 million worth of capital expenditure improvements to the facility,” said CCHB Chairwoman Debbie Ressle.

The CCHB requests the public stay informed of this process by visiting www.careforcitruscounty.org or following @CareforCitrus.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.