STATE ECONOMIC RECOVERY BOARD FOR CAMDEN
At Virtua Hospital
MINUTES OF THE MEETING
Members of the Board present: State Treasurer, John E. McCormac, Chairman; Mayor Gwendolyn Faison; Freeholder Director Jeffrey Nash; Marge DellaVecchia, representing Commissioner Susan Bass Levin; Reverend J.C. Jones, Vice Chairman; Public Members; William Hosey, Robert Milner, Rosa Ramirez and Rodney Sadler.
Absent: Tonio Burgos representing Alfred Koeppe, Chairman of the NJ Economic Development Authority, Senator Wayne Bryant, Legislative Member; and Assemblyman Joseph Roberts, Legislative Member.
Also Present: Maureen Hassett, Assistant Director of the EDA; Bette Renaud and Anthony DeFelice, Deputy Attorney Generals; and EDA staff.
Chairman John McCormac called the meeting to order at 2:07 p.m.
In accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, Ms. Hassett announced that notice of this meeting has been sent to the Star Ledger, the Times, the Courier Post and the Philadelphia Inquirer at least 48 hours prior to the meeting, and that a meeting notice has been duly posted on the Secretary of State's bulletin board at the State House.
Chief Operating Officer Randy Primas and City Council President Angel Fuentes entered the meeting at this time. Marge DellaVecchia representing Commissioner Susan Bass Levin entered the meeting at 2:34pm. Caren Franzini, Executive Director of the EDA entered the meeting at 2:40 pm.
Chairman McCormac asked for a motion to approve the July 22, 2003 minutes of the Board.
MOTION TO APPROVE: Mr. Sadler SECOND: Mr. Hosey AYES: 9
Chairman McCormac introduced Dr. Donald Krachman, DO, Executive Director of Virtua Hospital in Camden. Dr. Krachman welcomed the ERB and its guests. He also noted several programs currently offered by the hospital, which was converted in October 2000. The programs include the Primary Care, Dental, Podiatry programs, the Emergency Room, the Castle Program-a mental behavioral health program for children, the American Community Partnership, Brookfield Elementary-an alternative day school, Confident Care Corporation, Genesis School of Business, Providence Pediatric Day Care, Senior Care of America, UMDNJ-SOM Community, working with Lady of Lourdes and Cooper Hospitals. Dr. Krachman noted the important role that Virtua Hospital is playing in the redevelopment of the local area.
Chairman McCormac introduced James Wallace, Senior Vice President for Corporate Services, of Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, who made a presentation on the hospital's request for $4.5 million in grant assistance for the construction of the Critical Care Building, including the School of Nursing on the campus on Haddon Avenue. Mr. Wallace also explained how the project will result in better treatment, waiting space, overall operations, as well as doubling the number of nursing graduates annually.
William Hosey asked what the class size is for the students and if there was room for expansion at the site. Mr. Wallace indicated that the hospital hopes for 80 students annually and that the site would not accommodate additional growth unless the parking is reduced.
Randy Primas asked what is the total investment the hospital expects from the project. Mr. Wallace said that the total project cost for the project is $53 million and that bonds were sold in the private market at a good time and that institutional funds were in place for the projects. He also noted that there has been a lot of development on Haddon Avenue over the past 10 years, and that Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center wants to become the catalyst for additional development and investment so that the area is a "Gateway" to the City.
Rev. Jones asked about the hospital's reputation for rehabilitation and Mr. Wallace's thoughts on it. He responded that Medicare/Medicaid is seeking a change in the reimbursement of rehabilitation costs.
Angel Fuentes asked if nursing school graduates are coming from the Medical Arts High School. The hospital has been part of the development of the Medical Arts High School and some of the students are involved with the hospital currently. Mr. Fuentes also asked for the contact person regarding jobs at the hospital. Mr. Wallace said that he is the contact person and the Human Resources Department has recruiters as well.
Chairman McCormac requested Maureen Hassett to summarize the grant request. Ms. Hassett noted the Board's approval would include an annual service charge agreement and that Randy Primas is finalizing the agreement for Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. Mr. Primas added that a percentage is being determined that will apply to all of the annual servicing fees for non-profit organizations.
MOTION TO APPROVE: Mr. Milner SECOND: Mr. Hosey AYES: 9
Marge DellaVecchia entered the meeting at this time. Ms. Hassett provided an overview of the ABC Corporation's $5.1 million matching grant request to conduct unsafe building demolitions on a city-wide basis, in cooperation with the City of Camden.
MOTION TO APPROVE: Mr. Hosey SECOND: Mr. Primas AYES: 10
In the next item of business, Steve Dragos of the Greater Camden Partnership provided a PowerPoint overview of the Downtown Strategic Development Plan. He indicated that a thorough steering committee has been formed and is providing strategic input.
Ms. Hassett explained two additional memoranda presented to the Board at the meeting. The first memorandum sought the Board's approval of the Qualified Municipal Capital and Economic Recovery and Financial Plan as required by Section 45 (d) of the Municipal Rehabilitation and Economic Recovery Act.
MOTION TO APPROVE: Mr. Primas SECOND: Mr. Sadler AYES: 10
The second memorandum sought Board approval of a Modification to the Funding Agreement for the Camden Aquarium Expansion and Renovation Project that consisted of:
1) $500,000 of the $3.0 million maintenance account (approved in the project financing) will be reserved until 12/31/03 for environmental remediation if necessary;
2) in the event that environmental remediation exceeds $500,000, the State may terminate its agreement with Steiner Associates;
3) if the State terminates its agreement with Steiner, Steiner will be reimbursed for 100% of its (documented) expenses incurred from March 31, 2003 until December 31, 2003 with reimbursement from ERB funds not to exceed $1 million.
MOTION TO APPROVE: Ms. DellaVecchia SECOND: Mr. Primas AYES: 10
Maureen Hassett updated the ERB members on staff activities supporting the ERB. Angel Fuentes asked about the location of the projects that have been received through the application process. Ms. Hassett also provided a Technical Assistance Committee Report to the ERB. Ms. DellaVechhia commented on the demolition progress at the Terraces project and throughout the City as well as recent government events, bringing attention to positive developments in the City.
Randy Primas, Mayor Faison, John McCormac, and Jeffrey Nash provided comments and updates on their respective agency and office activities in support of the City.
Mr. McCormac requested public comments and Ms. Novella Starks Hinson thanked the ERB for its commitment to Camden and the projects that are being done in the city.
There being no further business, on a motion by Ms. Faison, and seconded by Mr. Jones, the meeting was adjourned at 3:11 p.m.
Certification: The foregoing and attachments represent a true and complete summary of the actions taken by the State Economic Recovery Board for the City of Camden at its meeting.
S. Franzini, Executive Director, EDA
Asst. Secretary, ERB