City of Haleyville approves one-cent sales tax to help save hospital

Updated: Dec. 18, 2017 at 9:49 PM CST
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HALEYVILLE, AL (WBRC) - Haleyville city leaders approved a one-cent sales tax Monday night to try to keep Winston County's only hospital from closing.

They were able to get an extension until the end of next month to keep the doors open for now.

But passing that one-cent sales tax officials said was the easy part.

Their biggest challenge ahead is getting the hospital appraised and then seeing if the federal government can release Lakeland Community Hospital from the debt it's accumulated.

A hospital management company is working with city and county leaders to save Lakeland Community Hospital.

In Monday night's packed meeting, not only was a sales tax approved but a new hospital authority board was created to gain control of the hospital, if all goes as planned.

"We are asking employees to work with us, stay with us," said Mayor Ken Sunseri.

Many residents want to do what they can to help keep Lake Land a float.

"This community just, they don't want to lose the jobs, they want that emergency care," said Leah Butler who lives in Haleyville.

"It's critical because if we have someone who's injured here or has a heart attack, we can't afford to send them off 30 miles to another hospital," said Sunseri.

Mayor Ken Sunseri said the management firm brought in will help manage the facility.

A lot of uncertainty in the air for sure but the mayor's plea is that everyone hangs in there until they sort it all out.

There efforts aren't going unnoticed.

"Keep the hospital open, I can't believe they are fighting this hard. I'm just amazed," said Butler.

The Winston County Commission is also looking to bring back a type of tax increase for hospital funding and is researching whether a vote of the people is needed or if the commission can implement it.

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