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Bayonne council again tables ordinances that would condemn BMC property

The council cannot vote on the ordinances without state Local Finance Board approval

The fight over the operations of Bayonne Medical Center rages on.

The Bayonne City Council has again tabled two ordinances that would condemn the Bayonne Medical Center property through eminent domain.

In May 2020, the Hudson County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to approve three resolutions authorizing the Hudson County Improvement Authority (HCIA) to begin the eminent domain process. At its April 2021 meeting, the city council introduced two ordinances that would continue proceedings which began last year.

However, at its May meeting, the council did not approve the ordinances. After hours of presentations from all entities, public comment, and council member questions, the council tabled the ordinances, citing a need for more information.

The council was set to hear from bonding professionals on the ordinances at its caucus meeting on June 9. But power outages forced the cancellation of that meeting.

The ordinances will be up for a vote at the July meeting.

A quick rundown 

CarePoint Health has been selling its assets, including Bayonne Medical Center. In November of 2019, Avery Eisenreich, owner of nursing home operator Alaris Health, purchased the real estate of Bayonne Medical Center.

CarePoint has been searching for an operator for the facilities ever since, eventually signing a sale agreement in 2020 with BMC Hospital LLC to operate Bayonne Medical Center. Meanwhile, Hudson Regional Hospital in Secaucus closed on the purchase of the real estate of Bayonne Medical Center from Eisenreich for $76 million.

Since the sale has closed, Hudson Regional has made clear its intentions to operate the hospital, not BMC Hospital LLC. This has sparked a war between the two entities over who will run the operations.

Tabled again

City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski motioned to table the ordinances until the July meeting, citing the council’s inability to approve the ordinances without the state approval via the Local Finance Board. The council unanimously agreed.

The board was set to vote on the matter on June 8. However, both Hudson Regional and BMC Hospital LLC submitted new proposals regarding eminent domain on the same day.

Hudson Regional sought to avoid eminent domain by offering the city a right-of-first-refusal should it ever sell the property, seeking to rectify concerns that the hospital would allegedly not remain an acute-care facility under Hudson Regional’s operations. BMC Hospital LLC’s new plan reiterated its offer to cover the monthly debt service on the related bonds that would condemn the property through eminent domain, and added it would cover a number of additional costs and initiatives.

Due to the new plans that were submitted to the board, it opted to table the matter pending a comprehensive review of both proposals. While the ordinances will likely again appear on the agenda for the July 16 council meeting, it is unclear if the Local Finance Board will approve the matter before then.

Future still uncertain

Even if the board approves the matter, it’s unlikely likely that the city council will adopt the two ordinances. Ashe-Nadrowski opposes the ordinances, citing the burden they would put on taxpayers and the failure to explore other options.

Second Ward City Councilman Sal Gullace will abstain due to a conflict of interest, because he is a member of the Bayonne Medical Center board. With these ordinances requiring at least four votes to pass, they appear unlikely to move forward.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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