Voting will take place this afternoon in Sumpter County. This special referendum will ask voters to approve a one percent sales tax increase to build the new hospital.
“We have the city of Livingston, the city of York, the Sumter County Commission, we have the university, and all the other towns in the area all on the same page as far as trying to push forward to get this vote passed. The one percent sales tax vote to fund a new critical access hospital here in Sumter County,” Dr. R.T. Floyd said.
Approving the tax increase would only be step one of the process. Dr. R.T. Floyd, who's on the board of the Sumter County Health Care Authority, says the hospital must receive a critical access destination after the vote, before they can apply any form of a tax increase to residents.
"Now we have some preliminary reports from Washington that we feel pretty good about but it's not final yet. So there will be no tax unless the hospital is a critical access destination and it will not be applied until that time," Dr. Floyd said.
From there the process can move forward.
If this doesn't happen then it will not be a tax but once that designation has been delivered to us, then we can move forward with actually levying the tax, start collecting the dollars, get a plan together to build the hospital and hopefully within 18 or so months of having that, it can be up and running,” Dr. Floyd said.
The economic impact of a new hospital could be huge for Sumter county and neighboring areas if the voters approve the measure. A new hospital would improve medical care in Sumter County and create hundreds of new jobs.
“I don’t know if we’ve ever had so many people on the same page at one time. I think people understand and see the need for this. So, I know it’s taken a few years and I think we’ve got a great team together and I’m excited about the opportunity to have a nice new hospital here and located into the center of our county more or less,” Dr. Floyd said.
Sumter County residents will vote on Tuesday, August 15th. If the vote passes, some paperwork has to be filed, but officials say the new facility would be open within 18 months. The hospital would be built near Sumter Center on Highway 11, between York and Livingston.