Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

September 13, 2013

Hospital sales tax back on ballot

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat

emann@pvdemocrat.com — As the future of Pauls Valley General Hospital continues to be under constant consideration, the city council and hospital authority have allowed as much time as possible to make sure each decision has not been rushed in order to ensure long term preservation.

However, even as a potential suitor for the medical institution is still officially unnamed through a lengthy due diligence process, time to delay one element of support could not be put off any longer as of Tuesday’s meeting.

Coming back before the council members was an agenda item to approve sending to voters a proposal for a half cent sales tax, previously set for an election this month before it was rescinded to give more time for a suitor to be officially named.

“We just recalled it, it wasn’t long ago and we’ve got to vote on it if you’re going to hit November,” said City Attorney Jay Carlton. “November’s the last election this year.”

Approved unanimously to go to voters on Tuesday, Nov. 12, the council members were reminded that this is the last chance of the year to ask for a vote and that it is still seen as a vital way to offer financial support to help overcome years of accumulated debt.

The proposal will ask the voters to approve the tax on a permanent basis and the plan is to use it primarily to help pay off a 20-year note/line of credit of $3.15 million. There is also hope of benefit for the hospital from operating expenses to new equipment.

The city is still currently under a management agreement with St. Anthony Health System, though the hospital authority for the third time in a row featured an agenda item regarding termination of that agreement. After another executive session it was once again postponed.

City Manager James Frizell in the past also mentioned how if voters approve it, the overall local tax rate would go up to about 9.75 percent.

Carlton also confirmed an inquiry by Councilman Patrick Grimmett the election could be rescinded once again if things fall through.