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Monroeville authority to vote on $420M for UPMC

| Wednesday, July 11, 2012, 1:01 p.m.

The Monroeville Finance Authority is scheduled to vote Thursday on issuing $420 million of tax-exempt bonds on behalf of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Half of the funds would be used to pay for the recent construction of UPMC East and UPMC Urgent Care in Monroeville, in addition to other recent UPMC projects in Pittsburgh. The remaining $210 million would refinance bonds issued on behalf of the medical center by other entities since 1999.

Monroeville Council voted 5-2 on Tuesday in favor of issuing bonds for new projects.

The finance authority - which was established earlier this year at the request of UPMC - will have the final vote.

Although council's vote only dealt with about $210 million for the new construction, the authority will consider issuing $420 million of bonds for the new UPMC construction and to refinance existing UPMC debt.

The finance authority would act as a conduit to obtain low-interest funding from banks or investors. In turn, the authority would generate revenue for the municipality by collecting fees from the nonprofit medical center for the service.

Members of the authority will discuss the amount of the fee at tonight's meeting. If the authority votes against issuing the bonds, UPMC could receive a bond for $210 million from the Madison, Wis.-based Public Finance Authority.

"They'll go somewhere else and (Monroeville) won't get the deal," said Monroeville Solicitor Bruce Dice on Tuesday.

Councilwoman Diane Allison voted against issuing the bonds, saying that usually a municipal authority votes before council.

"I don't want exceptions to our rules or our norms," she said.

The nonprofit UPMC last year reported nearly $9 billion in revenue and $406 million in operating profit.

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