Piggott city council tables discussion of hospital’s utility rates

Residents upset over hospital utility bill
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

PIGGOTT, AR (KAIT) - The city of Piggott is working to keep Piggott Community Hospital from closing.

For that to happen, they have forgiven a $445,000 utility bill owed by the hospital.

During a working meeting Tuesday afternoon, hospital administrators presented a plan to the city council and mayor on how they will get out of debt.

The plan includes a mental health program and an infusion program, which they hope will attract people from nearby who are going elsewhere for those services in an effort to generate more income.

The city considered letting the hospital pay a commercial rate for utilities at the council meeting Tuesday night.

Not every council member was impressed with the plan.

Piggott Mayor Jim Poole said they need to extend the commercial utility rate to the hospital because it is a critical part of the community.

"I think it's a very viable plan to keep them in the black," Poole said. "But they're gonna have to have our help in this electric thing to do it. Hopefully the council will vote to go along with this and keep the hospital going. Like I said, there's $7 million payroll at stake and 200 employees."

Members of the community at the meeting were not confident that the hospital could be profitable since the city recently forgave the utility bill the hospital owed.

Other options were also brought up to fund the hospital including a county-wide tax instead of just a city tax.

The city council voted to table the discussion about the hospital's utility rates until the February meeting.

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