Opp inks deal with Mizell

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Hospital to get all proceeds  for 1-cent sales tax

The Opp City Council on Tuesday night held a public hearing to discuss the 1-cent sales tax implemented to help the ailing Mizell Memorial Hospital and OK’d an agreement between the city and the hospital.

During the public hearing, resident Bill Edwards asked Mayor Becky Bracke why there was no representative from the hospital at the meeting.

Bracke said it was her fault and that she told Mizell Memorial Hospital CEO Jana Wyatt it was not necessary for her to attend.

Bracke said she would invite Wyatt to the next meeting.

Bracke said she attended a strategic planning meeting at the hospital and officials are really trying to improve the facility.

Resident Charles Willis said the city can’t do without the hospital.

The funding agreement between the city and the hospital says that continued operation of the hospital is vital to the economy of the city.

In 2010, the city floated a $6.5 million bond for Mizell to help the hospital out of a financial bind.

The agreement then allowed the hospital to pay off more than $4.7 million in outstanding bonds as well as make needed repairs and improvements to the building, and the hospital made payments to the city.

In June 2017, the council approved an ordinance that increased its sales tax 1 cent. The tax became effective on Aug. 1.

Bracke said at the time the council approved the tax, the additional sales tax, which put the total sales taxes collected in Opp at 10 percent, would generate some $540,000.

At the time, Bracke said the council had not determined how much would go to the hospital, but on Tuesday night, she said all of it would fund hospital operations.

The hospital will continue to make its payment for the Series 2011-A Warrants and will receive the 1-cent municipal sales tax to acquire certain equipment and make certain capital improvements to its facilities.