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City decision right one for community

Who knew at the end of the day the potential sale of Natchez Regional Medical Center would hinge on the City of Natchez?

Fortunately for the future of healthcare in the community, Natchez aldermen put the good of the community ahead of the city’s coffers.

They held their noses and voted “aye” Tuesday for a plan that would allow the county to cut a deal to get the hospital sold, even though doing so meant the city would forgo property taxes on the soon-to-be privately owned facility for the next several years.

Under the deal, widely discussed by those close to the hospital, though not publicly disclosed, the county will sell the hospital for $18 million, just enough to cover all the hospital’s amazingly high mountain of debt.

The funds allegedly will include $10 million for the facility and $8 million in prepaid property tax. The latter is being touted as a good deal for the county since it hasn’t been receiving property tax on the building since it’s publicly owned.

The county isn’t “out” anything, the hospital sellers say, because the $8 million is money we haven’t been getting, so it’s not to be missed.

Of course, had the hospital not run itself into the ground through poor planning and obvious financial mismanagement, the hospital’s value to a potential seller wouldn’t have been so rock bottom in the first place.

At this point, perhaps, the aldermen had the right attitude — hold your nose and sell it — because it’s clear the hospital’s leadership cannot right the ship alone.