MMH seeks gas pass
Asks city to waive fees for new hospital
By Matthew Burgoyne
Morgan Hospital Authority chairman Terry Evans on Monday asked the Madison City Council to waive gas, water, and sewage fees for a new hospital to be built within the city limits and consider waiving future water, sewage and gas bills for the facility.
“Morgan County really needs an improvement in health care,” said Evans.
He explained that the hospital averages $2,200 per month and $25,000 per year on gas, water, and sewage; the authority is asking the City Council to consider waiving these future costs for the betterment of the Madison-Morgan County health system. Dr. Ken Lewis was also in attendance and conveyed the importance of a new hospital, which could be operational within three years.
“If no new facility is built in the next five years, we won’t be there,” said Dr. Lewis, who has worked with Morgan Memorial for 48 years. In a later telephone interview, Dr. Lewis pointed out that the city has assisted the hospital with water and sewage fees in the past. “There has been precedent for this,” he said.
“For a time, after the hospital was leased and then taken back over [by the county], the city assisted us with our water bills…we’re trying to enlist everyone in the community in helping the hospital. This would be a great financial help to us,” said Dr. Lewis.
Council member Connie Booth asked what would happen if the council decides not to waive the bills, and Evans explained that the hospital would not be lost.
The new hospital will be built using a bond that will be paid back within the next three years without a penalty to the taxpayers.
After the hospital representatives presented their request, Mayor Tom DuPree expressed his opinions on the issue. “This is extremely important for our community to have,” DuPree said. Mayor DuPree and the city council agreed to consider the request pending research of the legal ramifications.
The mayor said that the City of Madison will help the new hospital in some capacity. The city council also discussed recycling in Madison. David Nunn, City of Madison Manager, is looking for ways to make recycling even more evident in the city. Madison is ranked number two in recycling for the state, according to Nunn.
Nunn is working out numerous ideas to give incentive to the citizens of Madison to recycle. One incentive is by giving vouchers reducing a person’s garbage fee if they recycle. Nunn and the city council will continue to research this issue.
Monday night’s city council meeting was a public hearing for the Fiscal Year 2009 Budget.
There will be two additional public hearing dates on May 29 at 5:30 p.m. and on May 30 at 8:30 a.m. Both meetings will be held at the fire station.
Ezekiel Roy Lambert’s family was presented with a proclamation honoring the late city leader at Monday night’s Madison City Council Meeting. Council members and Mayor DuPree had nothing but kind words to say about Lambert. “Mr. Roy is one of those fellows that when he plowed, he plowed wide, deep, and long,” Mayor DuPree said. “He projected an image of consistency that was truly remarkable. He understood what home meant and he truly loved his home.” The City Council voted to adopt the proclamation at its last meeting and invited the family to attend Monday’s meeting. The Council also voted to approve a second proclamation making May Child Protection Month, devoted to the safety of Madison’s children.