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Waynesboro council allows retirement community to borrow $8 million

July 18, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The Waynesboro Borough Council has given its blessing to a proposal that allows Quincy Retirement Community to borrow up to $8 million using the borough authority as a conduit for the loan.

Representatives of the retirement community and its parent corporation, Presbyterian Homes Inc. (PHI), said they made the request because they can obtain tax-exempt financing over a 20-year term.

The borough authority, which owns Waynesboro's sewer and water systems, loaned the retirement community (identified as Quincy United Methodist Home in the matter's legal documents) $3 million in 1993, according to published reports.

Although the borough authority threw its support behind the effort in May, the ultimate decision rested with the borough council, which voted unanimously in favor of it Wednesday.

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Melissa Dively, the council's solicitor, had negotiated an agreement saying that Quincy Retirement Community and PHI would contribute $21,000 to the borough in return. However, the council decided the contribution should be at the retirement community's discretion and not something that is mandated.

Waynesboro attorney and Quincy board member LeRoy "Tucker" Maxwell spoke in favor of the loan, which has been earmarked for capital improvements and refinancing old debt.

"If you look around, there aren't other retirement communities of the same (caliber) in the greater Waynesboro area," Maxwell said.

He addressed previously mentioned concerns that Quincy Retirement Community isn't actually in the Borough of Waynesboro, but rather Quincy Township, Pa.

"Our borough does not exist in a vacuum," Maxwell said. "We have a strong interest in what happens in the surrounding communities."

Local Realtor and developer Ronnie Martin, who previously spoke against the proposal, asked the council to consider charging a 1 percent fee.

"Charging a fee is what banks do, and you are a bank when you're doing this," Martin said.

The agreement formed would have paid for the aerial photography associated with a storm water system study, she said.

The retirement community was operating with a deficit three years ago, before the merger with PHI, but it now is in the black, representatives of the retirement community said.

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