Thursday, July 19, 2007
Hospital seeks increase in indigent care funds
By SUE WATSON
Jim Tuttle and W.A. McMillan, trustees of the board of directors of Alliance Hospital in Holly Springs, approached the board of supervisors for a five-year lease renewal and an incremental contribution toward indigent care at the mid-July meeting.
The trustees asked for a 25 percent increase each year for the next five years for indigent care beginning with $250,000 in 2008.
McMillan said the trustees are hoping the county would be more favorable to the budget request than in past years in which the hospital has asked for half a million dollars for indigent care a year, but in recent years has received $200,000.
“It’s getting overly burdensome on us to try to provide services for indigent families,” McMillan said. “It’s everybody’s business to help these indigent families and healthcare is a great need of our community.”
Tuttle said healthcare should be the number one priority of the county and education priority number two.
“I can see when we first came in here, the county was not privy to that kind of money,” he said. “Without healthcare, you cannot get an education. The intention of this money is not to take care of the whole United States, but of Marshall County.”
Tuttle added that Alliance will not turn down anyone because of inability to pay for services and that he has personally witnessed people who needed hospital care but didn’t use it because they couldn’t pay.
“Some of it is self-inflicted because a person didn’t take care of business at home,” he said. “Healthcare is not important until you need it or your family needs it. It’s hard for a guy making a lot of money to be concerned about those who don’t have money.”
Tuttle would like Marshall County to become recognized in the healthcare arena and to be able to attract doctors and nurses.
“But we are limited in what we can pay people,” he said. “At some point we’ve (the county) got to do what’s right. We’ve got to have health care and education and we are begging you again to allocate for it.”
In other business, supervisors voted to deny Fred Kelly a permit to operate an ATV permit to operate a four-wheeler track on five acres of a 136 tract of property after objections from neighbors about the noise, intrusions on the peace of the community, pollution, land erosion and trespassing that can be associated with riding trails.
“I vote no more noise and no more trespassing,” said one neighbor.
Supervisor George Zinn proffered a motion to deny the permit, and said, “I am not convinced anything has changed. The last time the zoning board voted no and the board of supervisors voted not, and my position is the same as then.”
Kelly was denied a permit last year to operate a four-wheeler park on the property.
In road and bridge construction business, county engineer Larry Britt said contractors will clear the site at the bridge below Waterford on Old Highway 7 South but won’t close the bridge until construction crews are ready to take out the old bridge and start construction on the new one.
A pre-construction conference is scheduled for the overlay of a portion of Marianna Road, he said. Paving on Taska Road is expected to begin soon.
The north Holly Springs bypass is near completion and ready for final inspection. Britt advised the board to be looking for agency funding for the paving of the stretch of new highway that will connect Highway 7 North and Highway 4 East to U.S. 78 west of Holly Springs.
Zinn asked if there is any progress on building a temporary detour north of the two bridges on Odell Road which are now closed and will be replaced. Britt said state-aid will not pay for the detour but the county can do it at the county’s expense.
Supervisor Eddie Dixon asked Britt to provide an estimate of what it would cost to pave about 1 mile on Rice Chapel Road.
Supervisors voted to table a request for rezoning 3.35 acres of land owned by Steve Foster in the Red Banks area. The property is grandfathered in for use in automotive but Foster said he has been approached by someone who wants to use the property for a nursery.
Neighbors who objected to the rezoning to C-1 cited not wanting to change the character of the neighborhood which for generations has been residential agricultural. The three neighbors who objected said they are concerned that if the property is rezoned commercial, the owner could change the business and surrounding property owners would have no say in what type of business would eventually be operated there, should the land be sold.
Dixon asked the matter be tabled until supervisor could be advised. He said he was concerned about spot zoning.
County administrator Larry Hall advised that remodeling of the Miller building for a courtroom will be completed soon.
In road maintenance business, Hall said crews are dodging rain and moving around the county where they can work. Construction of the turn lane at Wingo Road and Cayce Road was stalled a week due to rain and the July 4 holiday when crews typically shut down for a few days.
County crews will do some overlay work on Farley, Bishop, Gamble and Ross Roads and set up for work on Newsome and South Ricks Road. Application of clay gravel to Cooper Road was held up by rain.
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