Penny Talk

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Commissioner Cornell Brock reminded the group the focus was lost two years ago, and in the end the proposed sales tax didn't even pass.

"We couldn't get support from the community and municipalities regarding the issue of the incinerator," says Brock.

The commissioners did seem close to earmarking about $7 million from the sales tax to build a parking garage for Bay Medical Center, substantially less than the $30 million requested by Bay Medical months ago.

Chairman George Gainer says the best way to support the hospital is to build a parking garage, one item on a list by Bay Medical saying where they would spend the money.

"As far as the hospitals concerned, I would support up to four percent to build a parking deck. That's something everybody in Bay County needs if you go to Bay Medical," Gainer says.

Andy Stein, the chairman of the board for Bay Medical, says if the hospital were to get the money, a parking garage is not how it would be spent.

"You're prioritizing how we utilize that money, we've come to you with a whole set of needs. At no point in time did we say that a parking garage was the most significant need that we had," says Stein.

But no decision was reached between the commissioners trying to decide if and how much should be for the Medical center.

Commissioner Mike Ropa has always said including Bay Medical would create an unfair advantage in the healthcare community.

"I'd rather take the approach where we come up with a solution that tries to address the problem and to identify community needs and work through that avenue versus giving a blank check to one entity," Ropa says.

However, the end is in sight because the ballot language needs to be determined before the end of next month.