Questions Answered In Cross County Taxpayer Money Trail

ACKERMAN, Miss. (WCBI) – The controversy in Choctaw County about taxpayer dollars going towards paying for a Winston County medical clinic seems to be dying down.

Choctaw County residents voiced concerns on claims taxpayer money was going across county lines into Winston County.

While this claim is true to an extent, hospital Board of Trustees President, Rick Jenkins offered some clarification.

“We’re not sticking money in Winston County,” said Jenkins. “We’re sticking money in a clinic we have in Winston County, and every bit of the revenue comes right back to Choctaw County.”

Jenkins said in 2015 when trustees first approached supervisors about the Louisville facility, the rent could’ve been cheaper, and the large sum of $360,000 wouldn’t have been a problem.

“If they would cosign a note to the board of trustees, then that $360,000, the owner was going to forget,” said Jenkins.

“A lot of different angles were discussed. The board, at the time, decided it was not in the best interest of the county to buy the building,” said District 3 Supervisor, Chris McIntire.

“…and when they decided not to do it, they said ‘Well, we’ll just pay you $365,000, and we’ll also help you out on the $22,000 a month rent,” added Jenkins.

Keep in mind, this was at a time when Louisville had no hospital and doctors without a place to work, so both boards had to act fast.

“That lease, sure, more money than what we want to spend, but we were kind of tied in that if we wanted to get these doctors we had to pretty well do the best we could do,” said Jenkins.

Three years later, the hospital is doing better overall thanks to expanding its footprint.

“…which is something that we were told early on to do so that we could become more marketable towards other larger hospitals to look at us,” said McIntire.

In June, a new lease is planning on being made, one that won’t require any taxpayer money to go into Winston County.

“They are hoping to secure a new lease agreement that’s a lot less than what the current one is, one that they can do on their own and in doing so continue to increase our footprint not only in Louisville. You know, I can see us in the years to come to expand further out,” said McIntire.

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