WMNF Drive-Time News Friday

Last month, The Hillsborough County Commissioners unanimously authorized to expend $28 million dollars to help bring a public private cancer research center to the County.But that vote was revisited today when Commissioner Brian Blair objected to the way how the County plans to pay for the project.Hillsborough County is providing the subsidy to the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in a joint project with drug maker Merck to provide Cancer treatments.  Commissioner Blair said that after reviewing financial documents , he believed it does NOT make financial sense to use the money from County reserves to pay for the project.   But Mike Meriill, from the County’s Debt management department, disagreed (roll tape#1 o.q.”issueing debt”)And Merrill said it would be better for taxpayers to make such a large investment over time than immediately up front (roll tape #2 o.q.”rate of return”)Commissioner Blair asked  Merrill what the savings would be for the Hillsborough Tax Payer (roll tape#3 oq.”2 million dollars over 30 years “)The plan approved by County Commissioner commits the County to provide 20-million in grants and $8-million in land

Commission Chair Jim Norman thanked Brian Blair publicly for bringing the issue before the board, as he sharply questioned Mike Merrill’s thinking, forcing Merrill to again defend his financial decision (roll tape#3 o.q. “The Board can approve the project”)


But Commissioner Rose Ferlita defended Merrill (roll tape#4 o.q.”if we need to”)


Blair then defended himself  (roll tape#5 o.q.”the deal’s done”)


But Ferlita said to Blair , that makes no sense (roll tape#6 o.q.”doing business”)

Under the proposal, M2Gen would tailor treatments to individual patients. Researchers would then  use a databank of tissue and patient histories to map who would likely respond to specific drugs.

 The State will provide an additional $15 for the project, the City of Tampa $2 million dollars, with the rest coming from Merck.

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