HACKENSACK, NJ -- The City Council Tuesday night officially signed off on a long-anticipated agreement with Hackensack University Medical Center that will result in $24 million in payments to the city over the next six years. Reflecting a shared vision for the revitalization of the city, the Host Community Agreement cements a partnership between the City of Hackensack and Bergen County's largest employer and one of the state's leading hospitals.
“The City of Hackensack could not possibly ask for a better partner than Hackensack University Medical Center as we work together to revitalize our community. This agreement proves the hospital’s commitment to our city and its understanding of the needs of our taxpayers,” said Deputy Mayor Kathleen Canestrino, who was the lead negotiator for the City. “This has been a lengthy process but it was marked from the start by professionalism on all sides and a shared desire to reach an agreement that is beneficial to all parties. I’m very proud that we were able to come together on this matter and look forward to continuing to act as partners in progress for Hackensack.”
The City Council voted 4-0 to accept the terms of the agreement, with Mayor John Labrosse absent. As an employee of the hospital, Mayor Labrosse did not participate in any aspects of the negotiation, according to city officials.
Since its founding in 1888 as Bergen County's first hospital, the medical center has long been a driving force for innovation, economic development and healthcare services for the city and the region. It currently consists of 900 beds in the main facility, and after several mergers and acquisitions in recent years is now the flagship facility in the statewide Hackensack Meridian Health which includes 11 hospitals in seven counties as well as numerous outpatient facilities and networked providers.
Hackensack University Medical Center operates as a non-profit, meaning many of its properties including its main campus on Prospect Avenue are not subject to local property taxes. This has long created tension between the institution and the city, with residents frequently calling for the hospital to pay for the municipal services it requires. City officials sought to address those issues by entering into th years-long negotiation with the hospital that resulted in the agreement.
“Hackensack University Medical Center is a proud member of the Hackensack community, and together, in partnership with the city, we will transform Hackensack into a world-class healthcare destination,” said Robert C. Garrett, co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health. “Our twenty-four-million-dollar investment further deepens our commitment to this community. As the largest employer in the county, the medical center is the city’s economic engine. More importantly, we are here to serve the community, make sick people well, and effectively meet the growing needs of the patients and families in our care. Hackensack University Medical Center has been part of this community for more than a century, and we look forward to an enduring partnership for many more decades to come.”