Big Breakdown Looming in St. Joe Hospital Talks

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Gulf County officials say they are ready to walk away from an offer by Sacred Heart Hospital to build a new facility in the county.

County commissioners say it's been two years, there's no deal on the table, and the cost just keeps getting higher.

Gulf County Commissioner Billy Traylor is tired of waiting around for Sacred Heart.

"Good faith has not played a part in this from them, I don't think, and I'm disappointed in this. I'm disappointed that there were things that were said in meetings and so forth and commitments that they made, and they've just not followed through."

Traylor says the mistake the county commission made was only dealing with one company. He says the St. Joe Company offered free land if the county went with Sacred Heart, but now the cost seems to be getting out of control.

"We talked about the money aspect being $18 to $22 million, and we've seen numbers now as high as $42 million. That's stunning; I mean, it's unacceptable as far as I'm concerned. Are we talking about a hospital or are we talking about a Taj Mahal?"

Traylor says getting a reasonable bid is important because Gulf County taxpayers will bear the cost of this new hospital. He says the county will most likely have to find another company, and he says other hospitals have expressed interest.

Gulf County commissioners have given Sacred Heart Hospital until June 1 to come up with a plan to bring a hospital to Gulf County.

Some good news for Gulf County is the Health Department clinic is slated to open next week.