Commission ratifies vote for hospital sales tax increase

Published 4:30 pm Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Chilton County Commission formally ratified a sales tax increase to fund the construction of a new hospital at a special meeting Wednesday morning.

The temporary 1-cent sales tax referendum was included on Tuesday’s Primary Election ballot and was approved by about 80 percent of Chilton County voters.

The vote will be certified next week.

All seven commissioners voted unanimously to ratify the vote and set a date of Aug. 1 to begin collecting the tax, which will fund the construction of a new hospital facility to be operated by St. Vincent’s Health System off Highway 145 in Clanton.

A round of applause followed the vote.

“I want to thank the people of Chilton County,” Commission Chairman Allen Caton said. “This shows how our people will come together in a crisis, and we were in a crisis.”

Caton and Commissioner Heedy Hayes also praised the efforts of the Chilton County Healthcare Authority, a group appointed by the commission that has worked to bring a hospital to Chilton County since the closing of Chilton Medical Center in October 2012.

Caton said an agreement already in place to purchase about 40 acres of property at the site of the hospital shows the Authority has operated in a forward-thinking manner.

Hayes said Authority members have worked hard to achieve something positive for the county.

“If the people of Chilton County only knew the hours this hospital board has put into this thing,” Hayes said.

Ratifying the sales tax vote was the only item on the agenda for the special meeting, held at the Chilton County Courthouse, though the commission did hear from a visitor, Renee Green with Edward Jones Investments.

Green, who had already spoken with Authority members, introduced herself to the commission and said her local business offers services, such as bond underwriting, that may be needed during the effort to construct a hospital.

Green said she was familiar with the importance of having a hospital in the county.

“A local hospital saved my son 10 years ago,” she said.