Florida Supreme Court rejects Halifax’s plan for new hospital

The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that Halifax Hospital Medical Center may not use revenue bonds to establish, construct, operate and maintain hospitals beyond its taxing district, including a hospital planned in Deltona, Fla., according to the News Service of Florida.

Justices, in their decision, said Daytona Beach, Fla.-based Halifax, a special tax district, is not authorized to carry out the Deltona hospital project for which it wanted to issue revenue bonds.

They sided with a lower court, which denied the bond validation because Halifax sought to build the hospital outside of the district.

“Although the legislature certainly can grant a special district authority to operate outside of its defined geographic boundary, that extraordinary grant of authority would need to be express and unambiguous — clear enough to demonstrate that the legislature has created a special district that will operate with a power not generally contemplated for … special districts,” the justices wrote.

State law “does not contain an express grant of authority for Halifax to operate hospitals outside the geographic boundaries established for the district, and when the relevant language is considered as a whole, only authorizes Halifax to operate within the district,” they added.

The case initially was brought by Daytona resident and taxpayer Nancy Epps, who challenged Halifax’s authority to build the Deltona hospital based on geographic boundaries authorized by Florida lawmakers.

Halifax previously contended construction of the proposed hospital "will conserve the district's financial resources, is necessary and will serve a legitimate purpose of the district."

 

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