Sales tax likely for hospital

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

During 2008 a half-cent sales tax for the Allen County landfill generated $889,232.75. Allen County commissioners noted the income during discussions about Allen County Hospital at their meeting Tuesday.
At the Thrive Allen County annual meeting last week, Dick Works, commission chairman, declared 2010 the “Year of the Hospital,” and was joined by other county and Iola commissioners in the pledge of unified support to provide Allen County with a modern and more comprehensive hospital. All three commissioners noted a vastly remodeled or new hospital would provide more comprehensive health care for residents, encourage new doctors and medical services to locate in the county and be a significant selling point in economic development.
“Something has to be done,” Works noted, saying remodeling should be considered first. “We may find no potential (for remodeling), but we have to go through that hoop first.”
Commissioner Gary McIntosh said he was eager to get Allen County citizens involved.
“There is fear of a property tax increase,” said McIntosh. “We need to look at a sales tax. And whatever we do we want to do in a positive way and educate folks about what is being done so there are no misconceptions.”
Through 10 months this year the half-cent county landfill tax is lagging a little behind a year ago, with $673,342.84 collected. The projection is about $820,000 for the year. To put a half-cent sales tax in perspective, it would add 50 cents to the cost of $100 worth of groceries or $100 with the purchase of a $20,000 automobile.
Thursday was the first public comment about the hospital by county commissioners in months. Other discussions were in executive sessions called for client-attorney privilege, appropriate since a lease agreement with Hospital Corporation of America is involved.