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The building is free but the deal is far from done

Hamilton County

After spending months analyzing the deal, Hamilton County Commissioners still have more questions about an offer to take over the former Mercy Mt. Airy hospital site.

Catholic Health Partners is offering to give the site to the county, which would turn part of the building into a new crime lab.

But before accepting, commissioners want a plan for funding renovations. County administration estimates it will cost $40 million to fit-out a new crime lab or $100 million to completely renovate the entire building.

Commissioner Greg Hartmann says, "We've got to consider now how you pay for it. This is a big price tag and I think there's a lot of policy implications in this decision. From my perspective, we need to know how we're going to pay for it before we close on this property, before we accept the offered donation."

Commission President Chris Monzel wants to see funding options and get a response to Catholic Health Partners before the county sets next year's budget in November.

The county administrator says a property or sales tax are the two most logical options.

Commissioner Todd Portune says he wants a plan for which county facilities would be relocated to the Mt. Airy site before he'll make a final decision. There's been talk of moving the Board of Elections to Mt. Airy, something Portune and others oppose.