Supporters of hospital tax plan urge “Vote Yes Two Times”

Meetings held to educate public on tax increases
Dr. Steve Pu (Source: KAIT-TV)
Dr. Steve Pu (Source: KAIT-TV)

DUNKLIN COUNTY, MO (KAIT) - A plan is in place, but now the question is if it will have enough support to pass.

Dunklin County officials are traveling city to city holding public meetings to educate residents about their plan to build a new hospital.

On Thursday night, the focus was Kennett.

The plan involves two tax hikes, which is typically an unpopular action.

But several community members have said it's an investment for something much greater.

Dr. Steve Pu was a doctor at Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center in Kennett before it shut its doors.

And now, he's one of the biggest supporters of the proposed tax increase to help build a new one.

"It is imperative that everybody understands exactly what they're voting for and what it's going to and why it has to be this way," Pu said.

Supporters are urging "Vote Yes Two Times."

Numbers that may be hard to swallow for some.

"We have to do something that is never popular and that's to pass a tax," Pu said. "And unfortunately in this particular scenario because of state statutes we're actually trying to pass two taxes so it makes it double as difficult."

Officials are focusing on other numbers, like the $35 million economic impact, the 24/7 emergency room access, and the 85 plus jobs.

But for Dr. Pu, it's not about the numbers at all.

"For me, it's somewhat personal," Pu said. "I grew up wanting to be a doctor in this hospital. My father was a physician here, I used to follow the doctors around here, and that's what made me want to be a doctor, and being a doctor was always about being a doctor in Kennett, Missouri."

Officials still have five public meetings left.

To find out when and where those meetings are, click here.

Dunklin County residents will vote on both tax increases on August 7.

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