City representatives in favor of hospital tax

By Chelle Delaney: QCS Associate Publisher

Members of the city’s economic development arm voted Monday to support the Dan C. Trigg’s efforts to pass a hospital tax.
Quay County’s hospital is critical to its economic development efforts and residents’ quality of life, members agreed.

Director of the Greater Tucumcari Economic Development Corp., Patrick Vanderpool, outlined several reasons for approval by the board of the GTED, including:
• Dan C. Trigg Hospital is one of the county’s largest employers.
• A hospital’s presence is critical in a company’s selection process for a site to start-up or relocate a business.
• The hospital is a major component of a company providing employee benefits.

GTED’s board unanimously agreed at its Monday meeting that the GTED should support and ask local businesses to support the renewal of an existing tax which is 1/8 of one percent and the introduction of a new tax, 1/2 of one percent.

The hospital’s tax proposal comes up for a vote on Sept. 18 in the county.

Hospital administrator Matt Posinski solicited the GTED’s support. Posinski said the funds generated from the two taxes are needed to:
• Purchase and install a fire suppression system to meet fire code requirements
• Repair the hospital’s roof which is estimated to cost about $650,000
• Purchase of equipment for digital X-ray and similar images and an electronic medical record keeping system so that these types of images and information can be easily transmitted or accessed over the Internet to specialists or other medical institutions.
• Development of a physicians center so that the hospital can recruit additional physicians.

Hospital board member C.J. Wiegel said the county isn’t able to support the hospital.

However, the tax would come from many of the people who pass through Tucumcari, and benefit from the hospital’s care. For example, 19 percent of the people treated in Trigg’s Emergency annually are not residents of Quay County, Wiegel said.

And, even though the hospital has sought help from the state Legislature, it has not been that successful.

GTED member Will Cantrell suggested that the if the tax were passed that the community and hospital would be demonstrating their support of the hospital, which, in turn, could garner support from state legislators.

“Without it, economic development is not there,” said Quay County manager and GTED member Richard Primrose.

If a person spent $10,000 annually, the new 1/2 of one percent tax, would generate $50, or if they spent half that amount, it would generate $25 per year, Posinski said.

Other business before the GTED:
• David Buchen, director of the city’s MainStreet organization, said the group is working to complete its tax-exempt application, preparing applications to seek grants to fund a downtown master plan and planning a downtown community activity on Oct. 13, the first Six Shooter Siding Festival.
• Legal documents transferring title of land from the city, to the GTED to the Mark Whetten and Tony Gabel have been signed.
• The GTED has responded to three leads from the stat’s Economic Development Partnership that cover businesses involved in power generation equipment, plastic molding and medical transcription.
• An application for master planning, engineering and infrastructure construction at the Tucumcari Industrial Park is to be submitted to the state’s Economic Development’s Capital Fund.