Dunklin Co. residents to vote on tax hikes to fund new hospital

Dunklin Co. residents to vote on tax hikes to fund new hospital
Twin Rivers Medical Center in Kennett shut its doors on June 11, leaving the county without a hospital.(Source: KFVS)
Twin Rivers Medical Center in Kennett shut its doors on June 11, leaving the county without a hospital.(Source: KFVS)

KENNETT, MO (KAIT) - A month after Dunklin County's only hospital shut its doors, residents are considering two tax increases to build a new hospital.

Proposition HEALTH is a one-half sales tax that would sunset in 30 years. Proposition CARE is a 50-cent per $100 assessed valuation property tax.

If passed, Proposition HEALTH and Proposition CARE would fund the construction of a new 27,000-square-foot hospital which would employ 100 people.

According to Citizens for Healthcare in Dunklin County, a volunteer organization advocating passage of the tax increases, revenue from the propositions would generate approximately $2 million annually. The hospital would cost $12 million to build, with construction beginning in 2019.

"The two taxes have to pass for the model to work and for us to proceed forward of bringing the hospital back to Dunklin County," said Dr. Steve Pu, chairman of the volunteer task force. "This would be a hospital on a significantly smaller scale than the one that was existing. It would be more tailor-made to a community and county this size where we could actually support it."

The hospital would have an emergency room, staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The hospital would also include two surgery suites, and provide diagnostic services and cardiopulmonary care, the group said.

"This is an investment in your county for its long-term health both physically and economically," said Pu. "Even today, all of the physicians in this area are committed to stay and serve this county, stick with you side by side."

Early voting on the proposal began on June 26, with the election scheduled for Aug. 7.

Also, a series of public hearings will be held over the next few weeks to discuss the issue.

They include:

  • July 12 at 6 p.m., Malden Community Center.
  • July 16 at 6 p.m., Senath Community Center.
  • July 17 at 6 p.m., Crosspointe Church in Campbell.
  • July 19 at 6 p.m., Board of Public Works Internet Building in Kennett.
  • July 23 at 6 p.m., Hornersville Community Center.
  • July 24 at 6 p.m., Arbyrd City Hall.
  • July 24 at 7:15 p.m., Cardwell City Hall.
  • July 30 at 6 p.m., Holcomb Community Center.
  • July 31 at 6 p.m., Housing Community Building in Clarkton.

On June 11, Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center closed its doors after consolidating operations with Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center.

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