Elbert Commissioners Vote to Advertise One Mil Increase for Elbert Memorial Hospital

August 12, 2014

The first step has been taken in terms of the Elbert County Board of Commissioners granting Elbert Memorial Hospital’s request for funding.

During last night’s regular meeting of the Elbert County Commission, Chairman Tommy Lyon shared a letter the board had received regarding the hospital’s closure impacting the local granite industry.

“It says the closing of Elbert Memorial will certainly have an impact on the granite industry in the areas of workman’s compensation. Currently transportation is a small percentage of the workman’s compensation claim, because of Elbert County hospital being close and the medical center being close”, read Lyon. “To compensate for the rise of costs of claims, insurance companies may be forced to raise their rates.”

Before a vote was taken on whether or not to add a proposed one mil increase to the county’s millage rate, Commissioner Harold Reynolds made a motion to allow County Attorney Bill Daughtry to draw a resolution to ask State Representative Tom McCall to introduce a bill to the state legislature.

“That would help provide for indigent care for publicly supported hospitals and EMS units. The resolution would consider one or more of the following options, a) SPLOST monies, b) state sales tax, or c) tax on lottery”, said Reynolds.

Commissioner Reynolds’ motion passed unanimously.

Turning back to the hospital’s request, a motion was made by Commissioner Horace Harper for the county to implement a one mil increase for the length of one year for Elbert Memorial.

That motion passed with a vote of 4-1 with Commissioner Chris Alexander being the lone commissioner in opposition.

Commissioner Kenneth Ashworth explains why he voted in favor of the motion.

“This one mil will not be to give raises; it will not be to give bonuses, it will be done to pay off bad debt”, said Ashworth. “It will not be for more salary, and that is the reason I supported it. After a lot of thought and praying, I decided I will support it.”

Commissioner Harper said he was proud of the decision that the commissioners made yesterday evening.

“I just hope that our community will keep a positive attitude about everything. You can always improve on something, but you look at places like Anderson, Greenville, and Spartanburg, they have a positive attitude”, said Harper. “With a positive attitude our county can do anything it wants to do.”

Even though the motion to propose an increase passed, the county’s millage rate has not been officially increased yet, as the commissioners are still required by law to advertise the increase and to hold three public hearings before voting one final time whether or not to increase the millage rate.