Hospital sales tax back on track

Published 2:40 pm Friday, August 28, 2015

Mistakes happen.

Unfortunately, when they do, they’re often compounded by another mistake in an attempt to make things better.

There’s only one thing to do when a mistake has been made: Do the right thing and set it right.

That’s the approach that was taken by the Chilton County Hospital Authority and the Chilton County Commission recently when they discovered an additional sales tax wasn’t being collected on vehicle sales, as the original bill had intended.

The oversight had already cost the county more than half a million dollars.

Not only was the tax not being collected, but automobile dealers had been told by officials, who were speaking on bad information, that they would be exempt. So, those leading the charge for a new hospital were left with two unpleasant options. They could go back on their word and begin collecting the tax, or they could allow the taxes to continue being uncollected at the risk of the financing of the project.

Fortunately, they did the right thing by the people of Chilton County and made the situation right. At the Health Care Authority’s recommendation, the commission unanimously passed resolutions re-asserting the original intent of the sales tax bill and protecting dealers from being charged for back taxes.

Those present at a special meeting of the commission said the dealers were understandably unhappy but that they didn’t want to be a stumbling block in the race to having a hospital in the county again. The dealers deserve credit for considering what’s best for Chilton County. And they deserved to be protected from having to pay for taxes that hadn’t been collected previously, which would have been unfair.

Chilton County voters overwhelmingly approved a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund the hospital, and that vote was for a bill that included vehicle sales. It’s only right that local leaders did what they needed to do to set the project’s revenue back on course, even if it wasn’t pleasant.