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District Wants to Keep Sun Shining on Hospital Improvements

4/26/2022

Voters will decide on May 3 whether to retain a .04 percent sales tax for hospital improvements that district board members say will improve access to surgeries, emergency services, health care. This story is sponsored by the law firm of Downs, McDonough, Cowan & Foley and Choice Building Supply Ace Hardware

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The Montezuma County Hospital District is asking voters to retain a 0.04% sales tax so that it can expand access to emergency services and a wider variety of surgical procedures in the community. You're watching the local news network brought to you by the law firm of Downs, McDonough, Cowan, and Foley and Choice Building Supply ACE Hardware. I'm Wendy Graham-Suttle.

So we're looking to build a new ER, expand it out, and build a new emergency room, and then that existing space will become expansion for our same day care area. And then we also want to build a sterile corridor for our operating rooms, so we can open up. We're presently, we're using one of the operating rooms to store sterile equipment. And so if we build a sterile corridor, then we can expand and use that new or the old, not old, but the operating room that we're not using presently, so that'll give us four operating rooms.

Voters approved the hospital district sales tax in 2015 to generate four cents for every $10 consumers spent. The original ballot question included a sunset provision to retire the sales tax in 2030. The hospital district now wants voters to retain the sales tax in perpetuity and in exchange will lower the district's property tax by 25%. Matthew said the measure won't increase taxes, and voters will see a reduction in their property taxes. Both residents and visitors to the community, people who use the hospital, will pay the sales tax.

And people recognize that about a third of that tax is paid for by tourism and out of town, and people from out of town do use our facilities, so we feel it's fair, and we didn't want to hit people on their property tax. So they recognized that, you know, I may pay a little bit more when I go to the store, but it's only what I can afford to pay. And it doesn't tax essentials. It's non-essential taxes. So, you know, milk, bread, things like that, they don't get taxed on.

The Montezuma County Hospital District owns and maintains the hospital facilities and leases them to Southwest Health Systems, which operates the hospital and provides medical services in the region. If voters remove the sales tax sunset provision, the hospital district will refinance its $32 million dollar bond debt used in 2018 to finance the two-story medical office building, a new 13-room acute care wing, a renovated birthing center, a new emergency services station, and new front entrance. The new revenues will be used to generate an additional $22 million to expand and operate hospital facilities including a new emergency department, improvements to the surgical center to increase the number of surgical procedures available, and a same day care center for patients undergoing minor procedures. Matthews expects the improvements to attract more surgical specialists to the area.

Well, it means more access, so you don't have to wait as long for a surgery. And then it lets us bring in more doctors if we can to do more surgeries, to get people, right now, there's times we have to wait, and you don't always need, want to wait, so it'll be more access and hopefully maybe more different types of surgeries.

Ballots are due by May 3rd and should be dropped off at the law offices of Kelly McCabe at 22 East Main Street. Do not take them to the County Clerk's office. For more information about the hospital district, visit swhealth.org. Thank you for watching this edition of the local news network. I'm Wendy Graham-Suttle.

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