Miami Beach

Miami Beach

Miami Beach moves toward $15 million grant to Mount Sinai hospital

Miami Beach taxpayers may contribute $15 million to Mount Sinai Medical Center’s new emergency room after commissioners on Wednesday authorized the city manager to negotiate the terms of the deal.

In return, Miami Beach is asking for 2,000 square feet in the new ER to build, at the city’s expense, a new emergency operations center. The city could use the center, which would be built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, to coordinate disaster responses. Miami Beach proposes to lease the space from the hospital for $1 per year for 50 years.

Mount Sinai had originally offered only 1,000 square-feet of space and a 30-year lease.

Additionally, the city has proposed reimbursing up to $1.5 million of hospital’s building permit fees, instead of paying interest on the grant, as the Mount Sinai had originally requested. The interest payments would total almost $4 million.

The city is also asking for an easement on the property to allow public access for a bay walk, bike path, kayak ramp and fishing pier.

At Wednesday’s commission meeting, the hospital also agreed to give out 700 parking vouchers to seniors and to plan outreach events in senior centers and among high school students.

The final agreement will need to be approved by the commission, a request made by Commissioner Jonah Wolfson. A vote will likely take place at the June 11 commission meeting.

"It's not every day that you approve this kind of money," agreed Mayor Philip Levine.

Hospital CEO Steven Sonenreich pushed for city approval, saying he was meeting with rating agencies Friday and Monday.

"It's very important to the rating agencies to see we have the support of Miami Beach," he said.

Said Commissioner Joy Malakoff: "Timing is really of the essence. ... Rates are not getting any lower.”

Mount Sinai is planning a $205-million expansion and renovation that includes the construction of new private rooms, as well as new operating rooms.

In other action, the commission:

• Gave final approval to a dog beach in North Beach.

• Approved new regulations regarding where and when trucks load and unload. The rules are intended to help keep roadways clear and traffic moving.

• Postponed action on a proposed charter amendment regarding how commission vacancies are filled, meaning the question will not be on the next citywide ballot in August.

Follow @Cveiga on Twitter.

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