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Pemiscot Memorial Health Systems to ask voters for increase in property tax

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When Pemiscot County voters take to the polls on Apr. 8, they will be asked to vote on a property tax increase to help support the Pemiscot Memorial Health Systems in Hayti, MO. According to an interview with CEO Kerry Noble on Jan. 8. The PMHS Board of Directors made the decision to move forward and ask the voters for the increase.

According to Noble, if voters allow the increase, it will bring about $150,000 in additional revenue to the hospital. Currently the hospital receives very little from the county taxpayers.'

Pemiscot County Presiding Commissioner Jim Atchison says that most of the county residents’ property taxes go to school districts. Both Noble and he agree that the requested amount is nominal and necessary to help the institution that has been facing a financial crunch for some time.

Currently county residents are taxed 34 mills or about $3.40 per $100 of assessed valuation. The referendum is asking to increase that amount to 42 mills or $4.20 per $100 of assessed valuation.
According to the wording on the ballot, provided by Noble and their attorney Ed Reeves, voters will be asked for a simple yes or no vote on the referendum. The wording says that the funds will be used for “making capital improvements at Pemiscot Memorial Hospital and clinics owned by Pemiscot Memorial Hospital.”

The institution is the only facility that serves the uninsured and the under insured in the area and last year a completely new Board was appointed by the Pemiscot County Commission after the resignation of all five Board members. The new Board has been tasked with rebuilding the financial status of the institution that cited millions of dollars in debt, leading to lay-offs and possible closure at the time.

CEO Kerry Noble stresses that progress is being made, but slower than he would like to see it. He says the Board is closely working with all areas to make the necessary cuts and management decisions to keep the facility open. “The additional $150,000 in income would certainly help,” he said.

All five of the appointed Board members have signed up for the election on Apr. 8 and will be on the ballot to serve out the unexpired terms of the members they are replaced. They are currently unopposed and the deadline to sign up for the election is Jan. 21.

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