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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) –Oktibbeha County Supervisors are bringing in an outside legal team to advise them as they decide the future of OCH Regional Medical Center.

At their first meeting of the year the board voted to hire Jackson law firm Butler and Snow to give them additional direction in the process.

Last year a consulting firm hired by supervisors suggested leasing or selling the county-run hospital.

That idea has received a lot of push back from a diverse group including Hospital staff, ordinary citizens, and the Greater Starkville Development Partnership..

Now a move has started to put the matter to a vote.

“Don’t get me wrong. If the community decides that a lease or sale is in the best interest , then of course I will be the one to say we need to to strongly consider that, and do what is best for the community. But at this point we cannot make that decision. I think it’s a good exercise for us to follow this process all the way through, but at the same time you do have the opportunity where you can go with the next step.”

Hospital supporters will need 1500 signatures from qualified voters to force the referendum.

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