Hamilton Co. to sell Drake Hospital

CINCINNATI - Hamilton County Commissioners voted 2-1 Wednesday to sell Drake Hospital to UC Health for $15 million.  The money will be used to fill the budget deficit in the fund for the Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ball Park.

Commissioner Greg Hartman voted against the exchange and says the hospital is worth much more.

"We're selling Drake Hospital, a hospital worth at minimum $45 million by the auditor's estimate and upwards of a $100 million by other estimates."

Hartmann also disagreed with the deal because it only address the deficit for one year.

"Next year it's going to be the same song different year," Hartmann said.  "I think the question is how are we going to fill that gap. This is about as short-side of a strategy as you could ever see and really a mistake."

The idea came as a joint proposal from Commissioners Todd Portune and Chris Monzel.

When asked about the low selling price, Portune told 9 News that the deal included an agreement with UC Health where they would invest heavily at reducing the area's mortality rate, increase access to dental services and preserve Drake Hospital.

Portune also said that if UC Health sells the facility in the next ten years, it is contractually obligated to split the profit with the county.

For the 2013 budget, Portune said the county will be able to take advantage of casino revenue.  He also says the Reds and Bengals need to contribute more, and the county needs to find ways to lower the stadiums' operating cost and find other ways for them to generate revenue.

Portune says the main reason why he supported the exchange is because it meant tax payers would get the property tax break they were promised in 1996.  With the approval, property owners will see a drop in their taxes by $47 for every $100,000 their home is worth.

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