Hospital wants to ask residents for new sales tax

MISSISSIPPI COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - The Mississippi County Hospital System wants to ask voters to approve a new sales tax to help fund the Blytheville and Osceola campuses.

The Mississippi County Quorum Court Finance Committee unanimously recommended passing the issue to the full quorum court after meeting with hospital administrators at Monday night's finance committee meeting.

The proposed tax is a half-cent sales tax that would collect approximately $3 million annually and would sunset in five years, according to Quorum Court Justice and Finance Committee Chairman Michael White. "We're hoping for $14 to $15 million in anticipated revenues that would be totally dedicated to the hospital system," he said.

"We've kind of averaged about $3 million a year in revenue on that half-cent sales tax for economic development. So that's probably about what this half-cent sales tax would also raise."

If voters approve the tax, it would be implemented January 1, 2015. Mississippi County Hospital System would pay for the special election White estimates would cost $10,000-$15,000.

White said South Mississippi County Regional Medical Center in Osceola was built in 1953 and Great River Medical Center in Blytheville was built in the 1970's.

The tax revenue would be used to upgrade the hospitals' physical plants and recruit physicians.

The quorum will vote at its regular meeting Tuesday night on whether to approve the special election.

The special election would be held October 14.

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