Hospital board chairman says privatizing not an option

In Illinois, Massac County Commissioners say the old courthouse is in desperate need of renovations. Earlier this year, voters decided not to raise the local sales tax by 1 percent, so now commissioners are looking elsewhere for the money to renovate.

At Tuesday’s commissioners meeting, Massac County Commission Chairman Jeff Weber brought up the idea of privatizing Massac Memorial Hospital. He says some local taxpayer money currently goes to help fund the hospital. If they sold it to a private company, Weber says that money would stay in the taxpayers’ pockets and money from the sale would go toward courthouse repairs.

Massac Memorial Hospital Board Chairman Paul Henry says it’s not a county commissioner’s job to decide what happens to the hospital.

"This is a separate governmental entity," says Henry. "They are looking in the wrong place."

Henry says the hospital is independent and he plans to keep it that way.

"To propose just dissolving it, or buying it, or selling it in my humble opinion cannot happen, will not happen," says Henry.

Weber says he knows it’s not going to be an easy road.

"I presented an idea that is both controversial and would take a lot of work to implement," says Weber. "That said, my idea would give immediate property tax relief to the people of Massac County and provide funds to renovate the courthouse."

Weber says there are certain laws that would need to be changed, but if the idea became a reality, he says it would benefit a number of families.

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