Holmes County Proposes Tax Increase

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If Holmes County residents want a new hospital, it's going to cost them. County leaders may soon ask taxpayers to vote on property tax increase to pay for the new $10 to $15 million facility.

Several Holmes County leaders say Doctor's Memorial Hospital is too old and too small for the county's needs and its future growth, but the county doesn't have the $10 to $15 million it would take to build the new facility that is already in the works, that is, unless county voters agree to a property tax increase.

"It needs to be updated. It's really old. The equipment is really old. And I believe we can get more doctors and more people to come in here if we had a more modern hospital," says Shirley Allen.

"We need a new hospital, I think so. If we have to raise property tax a little bit, that would be o.k. too,” Donnie Byrd says.

The Chamber of Commerce says the new facility would benefit patients as well as bring in new businesses to the county, but not everyone agrees that it's such a wise investment."

"Yes, I would be upset if I had to pay more money because like I said, it's too small a county to support a larger hospital," says James U. Smith.

The hospital's administrators are hoping more voters feel differently. They say they're having to turn away specialists for lack of space and modern equipment.

The county's five commissioners will take up the subject this coming Wednesday. The county's state lawmakers have to agree to sponsor a public hearing before the tax increase is put on the ballot. Holmes County currently levies the maximum tax millage allowed by the state.