The Piedmont City Council is considering a request from a local nursing home to help restructure its debt in order to increase cash flow and improve services.
Trudy Lowe of Preferred Health Services, the managing company of the Piedmont Health Care Center, which is owned by the Piedmont Healthcare Authority, presented city officials with a proposal to consolidate and refinance the center’s $2.1 million debt on the building.
“We want to consolidate all debt by taking out a commercial loan,” Lowe said, adding, “We’d like to pay off all the debt and reduce our monthly expenditures for the debt service.”
Under this proposal, the centers monthly payments would be reduced to about $20,000, down from the almost $42,000 it currently pays.
More importantly, the refinancing would provide additional funds for several facility upgrades, which Lowe said would make the facility more competitive.
While the number of beds is currently capped at 91 by the state of Alabama, Lowe said the nursing home would be able to build a new wing, adding 12 private rooms to the 12 that the facility currently has.
As private rooms continue to become more popular, this would allow the center to generate additional revenue, as the rooms are more expensive.
Lowe said the center would also be able to add other amenities, such as a rehabilitation gym.
Mayor Bill Baker expressed his approval for the deal, saying, “Personally, I think we should go along with this,” adding, “They’re one of our largest employers and I think we should work with them.”
The council is expecting to vote on the measure at the next council meeting.
In other business, the council voted to spend $95,000 to upgrade a water testing lab at the city’s water treatment plant in order to abide by state guidelines. The city has already received warnings concerning the condition of the lab, which, according to city officials, could be shut down next year without the upgrades.
Also, the council agreed to apply for a $40,000 state grant to update its comprehensive plan. If granted, the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission would also contribute $20,000, while another $20,000 would be paid by the city.
Bills for payment were approved in the amount of $1,308,354.97. This includes about $675,000, which was spent on a new fire truck, most of which was reimbursed by FEMA.
The next regular Piedmont City Council Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 7th, following the work session, which is set for 5:30pm.