VIDEO: OCH Sale Talks Put on Hold After Moratorium

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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – It’s been a week since voters in Oktibbeha County decided in a special referendum *not* to sell OCH Regional.

But the subject was still a talking point at today’s Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisor’s meeting.

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A vote was taken to look into a moratorium on hospital sale talks.

To clarify, a moratorium means the board can’t bring up a certain subject for a specific period of time, in this case selling the hospital.

Some members believe this will give OCH some breathing room, now that the election is over.

“The issue, as far as we’re concerned, is over, at least for the foreseeable future,” said District 2 Supervisor, John Montgomery.

Montgomery is the one who made the motion for a moratorium, keeping the board from bringing up the sale of OCH for a period of time.

“This way we can move on as a community,” continued Montgomery. “You know, us as a board, we need to take our efforts and be the best county supervisors we can; we need to let Oktibbeha County Hospital, OCH, move on and be the best hospital that it can be.”

The vote was 4-1 in favor of getting an Attorney General’s opinion on how long the wait period should be.

The one vote against was Board President, Orlando Trainer.

He doesn’t see how a moratorium helps the board do its job.

“I think people send us here as supervisors to do what we seem to think is in the best interest of the county,” said Trainer.

Trainer respected the vote to keep the hospital, but a recent decision to begin a search for affiliation partners for OCH has him wanting to dive further into the issue.

“…to perhaps getting those individuals or giving them an opportunity to assume some of the county’s responsibility as it relates to the debt services, you know, that we have in relation to the hospital.”

Regardless, with the majority vote, both sides agreed it’s time to look to the county’s future.

“We’ve still got a lot of potential. I think that we need to combine our efforts and focus on moving forward,” said Trainer.

“We’re growing leaps and bounds,” said Montgomery, “and I think that’s where we need to continue to put our efforts in economic development and at the same time making the best school and the best hospital. And to move on from this ends the the divisiveness, helps us move on, through the 21st century as a community.”

We’ll be sure to keep you updated on the Attorney General’s opinion on the matter when it comes down.