Steve Rogers

About Steve Rogers

Assistant News Director/Assignment Editor; degree in finance and administration from Yale University; 35 years experience in journalism.

Oktibbeha Supervisors Reject Hospital Study

[bitsontherun EpBJbTMd]

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) — Oktibbeha County supervisors formally have rejected a proposal to study the sale of O-C-H Regional Medical Center.

Monday night, District 2 Supervisor Orlando Trainer asked supervisors to hire HORNE, a Jackson accounting firm, to review the financial and policy pros and cons of selling the county-owned hospital. As WCBI first reported likely would happen two months ago, the board rejected the idea in a 3-2 vote.

“At this point the lease, sell, to keep or don’t keep, we’re not at a point to make that decision. I think we are at a point where we need to do some due diligence to make sure that whatever decision we decide to make that we have enough information to make that decision,” Trainer said in urging his fellow supervisors to consider the study.

District 1 Supervisor John Montgomery, the swing vote during months of discussion, said in July he didn’t favor any further action concerning the debate over the hospital, which Trainer sparked earlier this year when he suggested the sale or lease might provide the county with financial resources to tackle other problems like roads while still improving health care services to the region.

Supervisors did encourage hospital administrators to find ways to restructure voter-approved debt to take some of the financial burden off taxpayers, who’ve seen a 10-mill property tax increase to pay for a 17 million dollar expansion.

“I’m asking the hospital, administration and board of trustees to look seriously at restructuring your debt over the next few years and taking over this millage on your own. Before that bond issue  there never was this kind of push to sell the hospital,” said District 4 Supervisor Daniel Jackson. “That’s been my stance all along and I’m not budging on supporting the hospital, but you need to look seriously at getting these bonds off the taxpayers’ back.”

Voters approved the bond issue in 2008.