e The Takoma Park City Council unanimously agreed this week to sponsor a $25.1 million bond issue for the Washington Adventist Hospital of Takoma Park. City officials said that the pact marks the first time the hospital has approached the city for financial aid and may help improve strained relations between the two.
At a special council session Monday, hospital administrators outlined their request that Takoma Park refinance a $27.6 million bond issue the hospital received from the town of Riverdale in 1983.
At that time, hospital administrators and Takoma Park officials and residents were locked in a bitter, five-year struggle over the fate of the 75-year-old Washington Sanitarium building, which the hospital later demolished.
During the dispute, hospital administrators went unannounced to Riverdale to get what they said at the time was money to pay debts coming due. It turned out that the loan also included money for demolishing the sanitarium.
With the council's decision this week to sponsor a bond issue of up to $27 million for the hospital, "there will be a bridge that, hopefully, will be used to continue to improve the relationship between the city and the hospital," said City Administrator James S. Wilson Jr.
The bonds are expected to go on sale early next year.
Under a resolution adopted by the council, revenue generated by the sale of the bonds will be placed in an escrow account until 1993. At that time, the hospital will have the option of either collapsing the account and using the funds to buy the bonds issued by Riverdale, or maintaining the account and buying "additional bonds or other investments," Wilson said.
"The whole idea here is to afford the hospital the options down the road of continuing to take advantage of the potential savings from the assumption that interest rates continue to decline or stabilize," Wilson said.
Wilson said that several last-minute amendments to the resolution ensure that the city assumes no financial risk through the issue of the bonds.