Voters say yes to hospital tax

By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

With votes coming in at margin of about 6 to 1, the gross receipts tax proposals for Dan C. Trigg Hospital easily passed in Tuesday’s election.

The vote on Question No. 1 was 774 for, 11 against. On Question No. 2, a new tax, the vote was 713 for, 155 against, according to preliminary totals from the Quay County Clerk’s office.

Hospital administrator Matt Posinski was in high spirits as supporters and hospital board members gathered in the hospital lobby to celebrate Thursday night.

About 85 percent of the voters were for Question No. 1 and 79 percent for Question No. 2, Posinski said.

“We’ll develop a plan now that we have money to work with,” said hospital board president C.J. Wiegel. “I’m excited.”

The new tax becomes effective on Jan. 1, 2008 and funds from that tax are sent from the state later.

The first of the funds, between $125,00 and $180,000, are expected to flow back to the hospital at the end of the first quarter 2008, Posinski said.

Overall, the new tax, 1/2 of 1 percent on the sale of goods and services, is expected to generate between $500,00 and $700,000 annually.

The existing tax, 1/8 of 1 percent, has traditionally brought in about $170,000 annually for the hospital.

One of the first items to pay for will be a fire suppression system, or sprinkler system, that is mandated by the state, said Posinski and Wiegel.

Its cost is estimated to be $250,000 and is to completed by March, Wiegel said.

On Friday, the hospital plans to shore up its anticipated funds by requesting money for its new roof through a Community Development Block grant at the Quay County Commission meeting, Posinski said.

The hospital’s new roof, estimated to cost about $650,000 is one of the hospital’s high ticket items that was often talked about prior to the election.

Over the coming years, the hospital also hopes to build a facility for a physicians group practice, Posinski said. The physicians would be employed by the hospital, Posinski said.

And its hoped that this would help in recruitment of doctors to the area.

In all, 903 voters, out of 6,104 registered voters, cast their ballots in the election, said Ellen White, county clerk.

Five years ago, when Question No. 1 was up for a vote, the count was 834 for, 66 against, White said.

The cost of Tuesday’s election, estimated to be about $10,000, is paid for by Dan Trigg Hospital, White said.

The Quay County Commission approved the tax proposals in July. The state Legislature passed measures to enable counties to raise funds for health care needs through a gross receipts tax if the counties met certain criteria.

Question For Against
No. 1
Renewal of GRT 774 112

No. 2
New GRT 713 155

Total votes: 903

How Quay County Voted

Question No. 1 Question No. 2
Precinct For Against For Against Total
1 House 16 5 12 9 22
2 Forrest 12 0 12 0 12
3 San Jon 45 6 42 10 53
Nara Visa/Logan 95 15 84 18 111
Quay County Fair Bldg 122 22 107 33 144
7 – 14
THS Auditorium 215 28 197 41 250

Absentee 14 0 13 0 15
Early 255 36 246 44 296

Totals 774 112 713 155 903

Source: Preliminary totals, Quay County Clerk’s Office