The city of Utica is prepared to move forward with the downtown Utica hospital and officials say the city can afford to fund 40% of the adjacent $40-million parking garage. 

Mayor Robert Palmieri and Comptroller Bill Morehouse issued a joint statement this afternoon, saying in part: ''The facts of this matter were thoroughly reviewed by the Comptroller’s Office, Budget Office and three independent CPA’s.  While this is a major investment for the City, we understand the economic potential the hospital brings and support the City financing 40% of the parking garage in order to move this transformational project forward.'' 

Both elected leaders say they've supported the Mohawk Valley Health System's plan to build a new state of the art medical facility in downtown Utica, 'from the beginning.'

The accompanying parking garage has dominated the recent discussion of the proposed $480-million dollar downtown hospital as Utica and Oneida County leaders were tasked with finding away to contribute approximately $27-million dollars in local taxpayer monies toward estimated $40-million structure.

After initially pursuing the option of a 50-50 split on the local cost, Oneida County officials agreed to pickup 60% of the tab when Utica leaders said an even split would be too heavy a burden for the city budget.

Forty-percent of the project over a 30-year bond would put Utica's share at about $685,000 annually, officials have stated.

MVHS Executive VP and Chief Executive Officer Robert Scholefield recently told WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning that without a plan in place to fund the parking garage, the entire new hospital project would be scrapped.

The joint statement from Palmieri and Morehouse also says the city and MVHS officials have reached an agreement on a 'potential sharing of revenues generated by the parking garage.'

Steve DiMeo of MV EDGE says Utica can afford to fund 40% of hospital parking garage: