Wednesday, August 13, 2008

County preserves 447 more acres of farmland

The County Commissioners this morning voted to spend $917,494 to preserve 447.46 acres of farmland through contracts of sale of agricultural conservation easements.

The County money leverages state and federal dollars to preserve the six family farms in various locations throughout the County.

Matt Knepper, the Director of the County's Agricultural Preserve Board, reported that, with this addition, the County has preserved 983 farms or just over 78,000 acres.

Lancaster County currently leads the nation in preserved farmland.

Also, Wednesday, the Commissioners voted to approve a refinancing of $100 million in tax-exempt bonds Lancaster General Hospital holds through the Lancaster County Hospital Authority, a lending conduit.

The refinancing was necessary, said Lancaster General's Chief Financial Officer, Joseph Byorick, because the hospital's previous lenders recently had their investment ratings downgraded by the Moody's Investors Service.

The bond will be used to finance various construction projects on which Mr. Byorick did not elaborate.

Commissioner Chairman Dennis Stuckey clarified that the bonds are not issued by the County itself and impose no liability on County taxpayers.