Commission passes resolution for vote on hospital tax

Published 11:46 am Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Marengo County Commission approved a resolution Tuesday to send a request to legislators in Montgomery for a two mill property tax that would benefit the hospital under certain conditions.

In order for the commission to send the request to Montgomery, they wanted the following conditions to be met by the hospital:

•A change in management. The commission didn’t specify what changes it wanted.

•The money to be earmarked for the labor and delivery department.

•To have representation on the Tombigbee Healthcare Authority board of directors.

The tax would be for the benefit of the hospital to be directed to departments as specified by the county commission. The two mill tax would generate approximately $415,000 per year.

“I think we’re doing the right thing for the county by doing this,” Commissioner Freddie Armstead said.

Commissioner Dan England said he feels like this is the wrong decision for the county and that the city of Demopolis should be doing more, but he also believes something needs to be done.

If deemed necessary in the future, the commission would be able to designate the money to a different department under the resolution.

All five commissioners voted to pass the resolution.

When contacted Tuesday afternoon, Demopolis Mayor Mike Grayson said he though the resolution was a step in the right direction.

“I think it’s a positive,” Grayson said. “Certainly, any help we can get is appreciated.”

The mayor stressed concern that two mills might not be enough to keep labor and delivery open though but that he is glad people may get a chance to settle funding.

“The most important part of this is you are giving people a true voice,” he said.

As far a Demopolis doing more, Grayson said the city gives BWWMH $125,000 a year plus use of the city-owned building.

“We are giving them a building free of charge,” Grayson said.

There will be a town hall meeting Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 5:30 p.m. at Rooster Hall to discuss labor and delivery and any other issues on people’s minds.

Also during Tuesday morning’s county commission meeting, the commission approved moving several voting locations for the upcoming elections. The Hoboken location will be moved to Nicholsville Baptist Church and the Cornerstone location will be moved to the old armory in Linden.

The location at the old courthouse in Linden will also be moved to the parking lot across from the courthouse downtown. Probate Judge Laurie Hall said the old courthouse can’t be cooled or heated, and it’s not serviceable for the elections. A facility will be placed in the parking lot across from the new courthouse for voters.

The commission also approved allowing Election Service and Software, a company the county leases voting machines through, to have a worker present in the county for the June elections. This will cost the county $1,500, but there will be new machines this year.

“It will be good to have someone familiar with the new machines here on election day to solve any problems that may arise,” Hall said.

Also during the meeting, the commission passed a resolution requesting CDBG grant funds for a water project in Thomaston.

The town of Thomaston Water Works and Gas Board is exploring the possibility of extending public water services to approximately 115 residential households in the McKinley and Taylor communities just east of Thomaston.

These residents currently rely on private wells.

The commission also took the following action during Tuesday’s meeting:

•Approved User Fee CD Rate of .75 percent for six months with Sweet Water State Bank

•Approved county levies for alcohol licensing

•Accepted a bid from The Demopolis Times for the publication of the voters list for $6,136.62

•Passed resolution providing for tax rate levied

•Updated county personnel manual to say part-time employees work 28 hours or less per week rather than 40 hours or less as it currently reads