Chambers Co. to vote on hospital tax Tuesday

VALLEY, AL (WTVM) - It has provided service to residents for over 60 years, and now the George H. Lanier Memorial Hospital in Valley needs your vote.

"The Lanier Hospital was founded in 1950 and since that time we've taken no money at all from the public in the form of taxes," explains Bill Scott, President of the hospital's Board of Trustees.

In a special election Tuesday, Chambers County residents will decide the future of the proposed four-mill property tax for the hospital.

"The tax itself will mean about $1.2 million for the hospital each year and the money will be used to replace capital equipment and keep the hospital up to date technologically," says Scott.

Lanier, being the only hospital in the area, has lost over $5 million over the past five years while providing more than $17 million in service.

If approved, the referendum would enact the tax on all property in Chambers County for a period of 10 years.

"If you had a $100,000 house which under Alabama law, the tax is probably ten percent of that so $10,000 would be taxed at four-mills, which would be the equivalent of $40 per year tax for the people," explains Chamber County Attorney, Skip McCoy.

If the measure passes, it has conditions which will limit its reach.

"There is a provision in the legislation that says should there be a cessation of the hospital then the tax would stop, ten years of any cessation of the hospital," says McCoy.

"Our emergency room has been here since 1950 and many of us have used it and been glad it was here, so we want to make sure it's always here," explains Scott.

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. normal precinct locations.

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