Commission passes resolution in support of 1-cent sales tax bill for hospital

The Chilton County Commission adopted a resolution at its meeting Monday to support a bill to be introduced in the Alabama Legislature for the funding of a new hospital in the county.

The bill calls for a 1-cent sales tax increase, as had previously been agreed upon by local officials, including the county’s legislative delegation of Sen. Cam Ward and Rep. Kurt Wallace.

The lawmakers would introduce the bill during the upcoming legislative session beginning in January.

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the resolution as a show of support for the bill.

“The Chilton County Commission is presently without the necessary funding to meet the fiduciary responsibility of the construction, maintenance and operation of a new hospital for the residents of Chilton County,” the resolution reads. “The commission wishes to acquire additional funding for said purposes, in order to meet the needs of the people of Chilton County.

“Be it resolved by the Chilton County Commission that it does request the Chilton County legislative delegation to take the necessary steps to adopt a legislative amendment to prepare a legislative act for the purpose of establishing in Chilton County a local sales tax of one cent, the proceeds of which would be earmarked for the construction, maintenance and operation of a hospital in Chilton County.”

The act would only take effect if approved by Chilton County voters.

According to the bill, the sales tax increase would expire four years after the debt assumed to build the facility has been paid off.

The bill would be voted on during a special referendum “before or on the day of the 2014 Primary Election,” which is scheduled for June 3, 2014.

The question on the ballot shall appear as follows: “Do you favor the adoption of Act ______ of the 2014 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature which authorizes the County Commission of Chilton County to levy an additional one cent ($.01) sales tax which shall be used exclusively for the construction and maintenance of a hospital in Chilton County; and which shall expire on a date not later than four years after payment of bonds or warrants, or both, issued for the financing for the construction of a hospital as certified by the county commission?”

If a majority of the votes cast are in the affirmative, the act would “become operative at such time as the Chilton County Commission deems appropriate.”

If a majority of the electors voting in the election vote “no,” a subsequent election “may be held at any time; provided, that a period of not less than two years shall elapse between the dates of the elections.”

Sibley Reynolds with the Chilton County Hospital Board said local officials did not take any issues with the wording of the bill.

“They haven’t heard anything of a negative matter about the bill,” Reynolds said. “I hope everybody stays in agreement for it.”

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