Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

November 4, 2013

City explains calling off sales tax twice

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — Without a plan in place for the future of the local hospital Pauls Valley city officials have decided to call off an election only a handful of days before the vote.

The decision came early Wednesday evening as three members of the PV City Council quickly and decisively voted to rescind the resolution that had set a Nov. 12 election on a half-cent sales tax measure meant to support the operation of Pauls Valley General Hospital.

The trio of Mayor Gary Alfred and councilmen Patrick Grimmett and Mike Parrish agreed the proposed sales tax vote, now postponed for the second time, should again be placed on hold, at least for now.

All three council members, along with City Manager James Frizell, said a more finalized plan about the hospital’s future must first be in place before they ask voters to support a sales tax measure.

“We’re not going to ask voters to support a sales tax while hoping something happens with the hospital,” Alfred said. “We can’t ask the voters to do that.

“We want to have a partner in place. We need that before we can take a sales tax for the hospital before voters,” he said.

“We wouldn’t say give us the sales tax for the hospital until we have a plan in place, and it’s got to be the best plan that we can have.”

The mayor stressed negotiations over the future of the hospital are continuing, which includes the possibility a variety of options.

That could include the Mercy hospital network which is believed to still be looking at the possibility of purchasing the hospital here.

“And it has to be a good fit,” Alfred said. “We’re still exploring our options.

“We’re trying to give the hospital the best chance to succeed.”

All officials at the meeting agreed they need to have that more finalized plan about the hospital’s future before they begin to think about promoting a sales tax measure on an election ballot.

“Our plan is to have a partner in place,” Frizell said.

“They will help present the goals we’ll move forward with.”

Apparently there’s plenty of support out there for a hospital to continue operating here in PV.

That’s the conclusion of a recent report produced by an independent consultant, according to Grimmett. The report is basically an overview of the local hospital operation.

“That report shows we have a ton of support in this community for the hospital,” Grimmett said.

“Until we have a plan in place from A to Z we don’t want to put this sales tax before voters,” he said.

“We want the people of Pauls Valley to know what this is going for.”