Plans are in the works for Mid Georgia Ambulance Service and other related companies to be sold to a nonprofit company, Home & Community Services Inc., and its affiliate.
The companies involved are based in Macon.
The Central Georgia Joint Development Authority approved Wednesday a bond resolution to issue up to $9.5 million in revenue bonds to Home & Community Services and its affiliate, H&CS Services LLC. The money would go toward financing substantially all of the assets including equipment and real estate of Mid Georgia Ambulance, Emergency Equipment Rentals LLC and B.V.B.S Property LLC, which combined own and operate an emergency medical and ambulance services business including logistics centers and maintenance garages, according to the bond resolution.
Because Home & Community Services is a nonprofit organization, it would mean all the property it acquires, including real estate, ambulances and other personal property, would be tax exempt, said authority attorney Kevin Brown.
The sale would include four locations in Macon: 252 Holt Ave., 145 Forest Hill Road, 1952 Gustin Place and 1947 Railroad Ave. Also it includes facilities in Zebulon and Columbus. The current assessed value of the four properties in Bibb County is about $1.1 million, according to the Macon-Bibb County Board of Tax Assessors.
The authority is only a conduit for the transaction and does not have any liability if the transaction does not work out, Brown said.
(The bonds) are not authority bonds, he said. The company will be required to pay all amounts under the bonds, and there is still liability from the company. But it allows the company to have bonds which are exempt ... under the federal tax rules.
Only nonprofits are eligible for tax-exempt bonds, he said.
So any nonprofit can do it and a lot of them have, he said. Nonprofits dont pay taxes on what they do, including the debt that they incur. ... Any nonprofit can buy something and it becomes nontaxable. But there are so many restrictions on nonprofits. It is very regulated.
Ronnie Rollins, CEO of Community Health Services of Georgia and many of its associated companies which provide nursing homes and services for senior citizens, pharmacies and therapy services, is affiliated with the purchasing companies. He attended the meeting Wednesday.
We are focusing on the home side of health services, and this allows us to bring in that transportation component which is a key component, he said.
But Rollins assured the authority that if the acquisition goes through as expected, the ambulance service would continue providing emergency transportation to the public as it does now.
Ben Hinson, CEO of Mid Georgia Ambulance and of the other companies being sold, was not at the meeting and did not respond Wednesday to an e-mail and telephone call seeking comment.
Mid Georgia Ambulance is a privately owned business founded by Hinson in 1977 and it has grown to serve seven counties in Georgia, according to its website. It has more than 280 employees. The company had been in discussions for years with The Medical Center of Central Georgia to be acquired by the hospital. Those negotiations ended in January, hospital CEO Don Faulk said at that time.
After the authority meeting, Rollins cautiously talked about the purchase because it is not yet a done deal, he said,
We are not through, he said. This is the first step. Its early in the process and its an ongoing process. ... We have lots of transactions that have to be finalized, and financing is one of them.
Rollins said he expects the deal to be completed this summer, and he expects to maintain the current locations of Mid Georgia Ambulance and its employees.
I hope that all, or substantially all, persons employed by Mid Georgia would see the benefit of our mission .. and support the mission. We expect Mid Georgia to continue doing exactly what its been doing. They have great associates ... and we expect them to continue doing that every day.
To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.