79°F
Sponsored by

Special Election Nears, Stephens Co. Hospital Hangs in the Balance

The vote to create a hospital district in Breckenridge is generating a lot of buzz in Stephens County.
"Taxes are taxes, we all have to pay 'em, whether we're rich, poor, we all have to pay them," said Shelly Jones.

For those living within Breckenridge city limits, like Jones, taxes would actually lower about half a cent with the creation of a proposed hospital district.

"It's just stupid to be without a hospital," said Brent Crow.

For those living outside the city, like Crow, taxes go up.

"I'll pay the extra taxes. This is our only chance to keep the hospital," he said.

That's because county commissioners say they do not have the money to adequately fund the hospital as it stands now, so the move to a hospital district would ensure quality healthcare well into the future, according to commissioners.

Also according to county commissioners, if the hospital district vote fails, the doors at Stephens Memorial Hospital will close.

That means the loss of 105 permanent jobs and a county left without a hospital.

"It would be a huge hit economically and not only that, the future of economic development in Breckenridge would be very bleak," said Virgil Moore, Executive Director of the Economic Development Council in Breckenridge.

So why are there signs plastered around town, telling people to vote "no" on May 11th?

"The hospital is in financial trouble," said Tommy Wimberly.

Wimberley is the man behind those signs and while he is against the creation of the hospital district, he wants to make one thing very clear:

"I am not wanting to close this hospital, even if it's going to cost us more tax money," he said.

So it seems everyone agrees, the hospital needs to stay open.

The argument that will be resolved on May 11th is just how to pay for it.

Below is the breakdown of how taxes will be affected, according to Stephens County officials.

The ballot will be worded to allow the hospital district to levy up to 75 cents per $100 valuation on property per year. However, the district will only need 18.5 cents to meet  its financial needs. So the tax rate would be set at 18.5 cents per $100 evaluation.

Inside city limits of Breckenridge -- the current total combined tax rate per $100 valuation if you own property within city limits for 2012 was $2.88423.

If the hospital district 18.5 cent tax is created and the city reduces their property tax rate by 12 cent per $100 valuation, and the county reduces their rate 7 cents by $100 valuation, the net tax rate would be $2.87923. Your taxes would actually be lower by 1/2 cent per $100 valuation, or about .17%.

Outside city limits of Breckenridge -- The current total combined tax rate per $100 valuation if you own property outside the city limits for 2012 was $1.87423.

If the hospital district 18.5 cent tax is created, and the county reduces their rate by 7 cents per $100 valuation, the net tax rate would be $1.98923. Your taxes would increase by 11.5 cent per $100 valuation, less than 6.14%.
Page: [[$index + 1]]
comments powered by Disqus
Looking for a Job?