County approves $60 million in bonds for Touro

During a June 14 meeting, County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a request from Touro University for up to $60 million in revenue bonds.

The bonds would be used to reimburse, finance or refinance the acquisition of land the the construction of the planned medical school on the south end of the city, behind Benefis Health System and across the street from Central Catholic High School.

Touro asking county for $60 million in revenue bonds

Brett Doney of the Great Falls Development testified in favor of issuing the bonds.

Touro breaks ground on proposed Great Falls medical school

Touro will pay or reimburse the county for any costs incurred by the county for the project, regardless of if the project is completed or the bonds are issued, according to the county.

Commissioner Joe Briggs told The Electric that they’re using for Touro and Calumet were also used previously for Montana Milling.

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He said they have no impact or obligations to taxpayer and are a tool that federal and state tax code allows for a local government to “lend its municipal bond status to a private entity for purposes of issuing bonds. The county has no obligation to repay the notes, they do not show the bonds as an obligation on its balance sheet, nor does it count toward our debt cap or our ability to borrow for normal purposes. We do not actually even touch the bond proceeds or payments; those are handled by the brokerage selling the bonds.”

Briggs said that the entity requesting the bonds pays all the costs of issuing the bonds, including the legal fees and hearing notices.

“The county’s only contribution to the project is a bit of staff and commission time but the benefit to us is the building of a new taxable structure and additional jobs in the county,” Briggs said.