The total amount of the loan is yet to be determined, but answering another inquiry from those in attendance, Gamble said one of the ways to pay off the debt could be establishing a sales tax several months from now. If passed, the tax would likely be for a limited time and may go further since the debt has dropped from $8 million to $5 million from the start of bankruptcy to now.
“The city sales tax is to pay off our existing debt, which will include this new bridge loan… it has to be large enough to ensure our plan works,” said Gamble, who answered another inquiry that more could be known on details of the loan as early as the coming week. “All discussions I’ve been involved with it is a sunset tax.”
Patrick Grimmett, who will be officially sworn in as a new council member at the first meeting in May weighed in with some input that another way the debt could be paid off is if the hospital is leased to the potential suitor first. Answering another question, Gamble said the sales tax could then create a reserve fund where purchase of equipment/services would be even easier and that as a result of the agreement they will not be in contact with any other suitors with the focus on completing a deal.
“We still have the same home town care,” said Gamble, noting how after talking to their chapter 9 bankruptcy lawyers, the feeling he gets is that they are very positive about their prospects. “I assure you does make a difference to have it.”
In the end, Blevins also attempted to offer some comfort, especially to the employees there to keep as positive an attitude as possible while they work things out and to try and create an example that encourages people to use the hospital as a service. Several comments from the employees there included feelings like because they will have a presence at BrickFest next weekend they are still committed to the community and that doctors here are still looking for patients, means there is still room to grow medical care.