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Hospital tax vote Tuesday

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The special election that will allow Chambers County voters to decide on a proposed four-mill property tax increase for funding of George H. Lanier Memorial Hospital in Valley is scheduled for Tuesday, May 7.

The cost of the referendum estimated at $35,000, will be paid by the hospital.  If approved the tax increase would begin in 2013 and continue for 10 years.  According to the resolution drafted, the proceeds from the tax would be used by the hospital for “capital expenditures as to constructing, equipping and maintaining Lanier Memorial Hospital…or the pledging of the proceeds from said tax to the payment of bonds, notes or other indebtedness.”

The resolution further states that if the hospital were to cease operations, the tax would be eliminated.

Chattahoochee Valley Hospital Society President Bill Scott and Lanier CEO Doug Dewberry have stressed the need for further financing.  They outlined the hospitals roll as the major employer in the county and the importance of emergency health care availability.  They also discussed the financial strains the hospital has been experiencing.  Like most small rural hospitals, Lanier has felt the financial impact of reduced reimbursements from private insurers and heavy loads of medicare and medicaid patients.

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