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Column: Worthington city administrator offers hospital sale financial update

WORTHINGTON -- With the start of the new year, the city of Worthington received the last $1.872 million payment from the 2008 sale of the community owned hospital to Sanford. The total payment to the city was $21 million and an additional $5.6 million from other assets and accounts receivables. This concludes the terms of the sale and presents a great opportunity to inform you where the proceeds have been invested and the next phase of their utilization.

If you have been following the discussions surrounding the hospital sale, you have often heard the term "legacy funds" as well as "impact funds" that the city council has designated for specific goals and projects from the proceeds of the hospital sale. The legacy funds are for those projects that represent a replacement of the capital facility that the hospital represented to other long-term capital projects like the fire station, Center for Active Living and the City Aquatic Center. Another key component that the legacy funds were intended to provide an enduring source of funding for ongoing interests through the establishment of an endowment. There has always been a keen awareness by the council to both make needed improvements in the short-term but also provide a pool of funds that will have a perpetual funding source long beyond this council's tenure.

There may be the assumption that because the city has $11.2 million left of the hospital funds,those funds will be spent down. Nothing could be further from the council's plan. There may be many projects that would be nice to consider, but we can not opt out of the positive impacts that can be had by the creation of an endowment with these funds. The city has reached the point where we are transitioning from addressing immediate needs towards one that has the advantage of providing an enduring fund to assist with projects not even thought of today.

The commitment to this endowment fund was demonstrated by the meeting the city had in December, during which our retiring council members and the incoming council members met to provide an update and context to the countless hours that have been dedicated to bring the city to this point. I think this reflected the true spirit and commitment the council has had to ensure these funds endure and continue to earn their title as legacy funds and span from one council to the next.

As we conclude the finishing details of the fire station, looking forward to the Center for Active Living opening and even the continued progress of the 59 North intersections into the Commercial/Industrial Park and Bioscience Park, we can see these important investments will also serve our community for many years to come. We have a lot to be proud of as a community, and the sale of the hospital has clearly provided the opportunity to move forward many important projects that would not have otherwise been possible. We are a better community for it.

Below is a chart that itemizes the long list of accomplishments. We welcome your questions or comments, so please don't hesitate to contact me or your elected officials. I hope you have found this information helpful.

Legacy Funds: $21 million

* Center for Active Living Construction: $1,100,000

* Fire Hall: $4,525,000

* Aquatic Center: $4,500,000

* Commercial/Industrial Park Loan Payoff: $1,010,010

* 59 North Intersection Improvements: $1,354,000

* SW Mental Health Loan (repaid over 30 years): $400,000

Impact Funds $5.6 million

* Biotechnology Advancement Center: $220,000

* PD Technology Improvements: $198,000

* Radio Improvements for the PD: $500,000

* Worthington Rediscovered: $300,000

* Design 59N Commercial/Industrial Park: $100,550

* Airport 5 Bay T-hangar $534,518

* Dayton House Parking Lot: $80,000

* Airport Fuel System: $107,502

* Airport Spray Pad/Bldg: $70,000

* Parks & Rec Discretionary: $119,669

* Freedom Veteran's Fishing Pier: $18,831

* Millard Walker Park Restrooms: $71,700

* New Centennial Basketball/Volleyball Courts and Enhanced Clary Street Court: $39,800

* Web Page Redesign: $8,800

* Tennis Court ISD 518 Joint Project: $235,000

* Clean Water Partnership: $50,000

* Center for Active Living Dedication for Operations: $500,000

* Hockey Association: $135,000

* Equipment Revolving Schedule: $100,000

Worthington Health Care Foundation (not regulated by the city of Worthington, governed by a separate board): $5.5 million.