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Hospital could pay off big for taxpayers

Adams County’s taxpayers could be just a year away from one of their greatest success stories.

In 1960, the county’s residents put up $800,000 toward the construction of a new, public hospital. For 14 years, taxpayers funneled money into the hospital.

Those payments stopped, but in 2006, taxpayers got involved again, whether they understood it or not. The hospital, now called Natchez Regional Medical Center, needed to renew a bond with the Mississippi Development Bank, and the bank required collateral.

That collateral came in the form of a promise that if the hospital couldn’t pay its debt to the bank, the taxpayers would — through a 5-mill tax.

But after reaching the lowest of lows just a few years after 2006 and filing for bankruptcy, the hospital’s leadership says the finances are in good shape and the hospital is ready to stand on its own.

The NRMC board of trustees plans to approach the Mississippi Development Bank in the coming year and seek to free local taxpayers from their collateral obligation.

If the bank agrees, NRMC would stand alone at no cost or risk to the taxpayers.

It, perhaps, has been a very bumpy road, but if that goal is achieved, the county’s initial $800,000 investment has paid off.

The hospital has been a major employer, a community partner and a crucial piece of our health care pie for 52 years. Autonomy is a great next step.