The hospital is on its way to being saved and the exhale of relief not finished but another problem related to the institution will come to up Wednesday night on its heels for a final vote: the bond refi on the midtown garage.
With an upcoming change in the status of the hospital’s owners, the agreement between the Parking Utility and HUMC must be legally updated for the changeover to the new buyer Holdco. With it a brand new agreement acting as a continuation for the hospital employees and Hoboken residents but for the City, a required refinancing to handle the outstanding bond is on the table.
That leads to the latest development where the midtown garage stands to benefit Hoboken further with the low interest rates available with the change in tax status. The savings to Hoboken would be $50,000 annually. Sounds simple right? Well when it comes to Beth Mason and Mike Russo it actually isn’t.
Coming on the heels of the Beth Russo hydra’s effort to cut off a $5.5 million bond to aid the sale of the hospital in its final critical hours, they saw an opportunity to massively sabotage Hoboken (while pointing the finger) blow up in their face. Gov. Christie came in the very next day and said he’s not going to allow petty partisan politics see the hospital closed when the sale was so close to the finish line. The only thing that wasn’t petty about it was the cost. Hoboken would have seen massive tax increases and massive layoffs with a hospital closure.
Well that was their point.
Although a typical “normal” New Jersey town would welcome the opportunity for this change in tax status to bring in another $50,000 in revenue and fulfill its legal obligations, this is Hoboken. As Councilwoman Terry Castellano says, “Hoboken is special.”
What makes Hoboken special to the virulent anti-Administration crowd is the 24 x 7 political gamesmanship where undermining the town is a full time sport if it means fun time for a political minority embittered by the town passing a critical benchmark selling the hospital. The gambit was big, ugly and they were fully invested in seeing it to the end.
So tomorrow night, there’s not much confidence a sixth vote is available among the Beth Russo hydra consisting of Mike Russo, Beth Mason, Terry Castellano and Tim Occhipinti. If the bond is not refinanced on the transfer of hospital ownership, it becomes a liability to the City and must be paid in 90 days. The bill will be in the millions.
What’s at stake is not what the Beth Russo wishes – higher taxes but layoffs.
The Beth Russo hydra sputtered when it tried to strike Hoboken on the hospital. Will they miss this time?
So after the failure to strike Hoboken hard with tens of millions in debt with the hospital closure, this is the second best shot the Beth Russo hydra has. The hope they have to drive up taxes is countered with layoffs on the table. That will cost people their jobs, people they claim to represent. The taste from “victory” they invested in working to subvert the hospital sale and see it closed is not over and this is the sabotage tool remaining.