A majority of Jefferson County voters said Tuesday they would support a millage increase to support operations at Jefferson Hospital.
With all precincts reporting, 81 percent voted in favor of the nonbinding referendum in which 1,810 voted yes and 435 voted no.
“I’m thrilled that the residents of Jefferson County recognize the value of having a local hospital both from a health care delivery perspective and in providing the foundation for economic growth in the future,” hospital CEO Lou Semrad said. “Thank you to everyone who contributed to this effort, and thank you to the voters of Jefferson County for having the confidence in our plan to move the hospital forward. We will be good stewards of taxpayer money.”
Jefferson County Administrator Adam Mestres was also pleased with the outcome.
“We believe that everybody involved has put in the legwork to promote the benefits of having a hospital and the need for having a hospital as well as the disservice that not having a hospital would place on the community as a whole,” Mestres said Tuesday. “With 18 town hall meetings, I commend the hospital for getting that much needed education piece out to the community so they have a clear understanding of what the hospital means to the community going into the polls on Election Day.”
Because the vote was a nonbinding referendum, the Jefferson County Commission will still have to vote later to levy up to 3 mills to support hospital operations. Since last fall, the county has been providing $100,000 a month to offset indigent care expenses.
“Where the property owners will see it is on the bills that typically come out in August for that Nov. 15 due date,” Mestres said. “It will be a separate line item that will say Hospital Authority millage, and it will show 3 mills and show the amount so each property owner will know exactly how much of their property taxes is going to support the hospital.”