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Council looks at funding new hospital

Having agreed to build a hospital at the joint Harrison County Commissioners/Council meeting last week, council chair Gary Davis took steps at the council’s Monday night meeting to move the project along.
‘The council needs to investigate all the funding options we have for paying for the hospital,’ said Davis.
On a motion by Kenneth Saulman, seconded by Rhonda Rhoads, the council unanimously gave Davis the authority to invite a couple of financial firms to make a presentation of their services to the council.
‘How much time will it take?’ asked Councilman Carl (Buck) Mathes.
Davis said he hopes to complete that job by next month.
The council and the commissioners, in separate actions at an Oct. 18 joint meeting, agreed in principle with the 65-bed hospital construction project west of Corydon. Now both groups are expected to fine-tune the details, like size, costs and financing.
Taxpayer watchdog Andrew Best of Corydon has called for studies to assess the needs not only of Harrison County but also neighboring counties to make sure the new facility meets those needs.
In the meantime, Best has crunched the numbers himself to see how much the project will cost households in Harrison County per day.
He estimates that, with Harrison County paying half the cost of the hospital ($17.5 million), the 14,941 households in Harrison County would pay 41 cents a day. At worst, if the county covered all the project costs, including the lost interest on its investments, plus new state-of-the-art equipment and the cost of centralized health care at each of the county’s fire stations, the cost to households would be $1.10 per day.
‘Neither one is bad,’ Best said yesterday. ‘It’s insurance to have relatively quick access to the emergency room. Either one, to me, is a bargain.’

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