Voters pass 1/2 cent hospital tax

The people in hospital District 2 voted yes to a new half cent sales tax that will be used to expand the emergency room at Abbeville General Hospital.

It passed 1,718 votes to 1,167.

The new 1/2 cent sales tax will raise $1.5 million each year. The money will used for maintaining hospital equipment, maintaining and improving the emergency room along with emergency room operations.

The hospital will increase the size of the emergency room, along with increasing the emergency room’s nursing and support staff.

Ray Landry, who is in charge of the operations of Abbeville General, was thrilled after learning the tax had passed.

“This is great news for the healthcare community and for all who turn to our emergency room and hospital for care. The significance of any sales tax passing at a time when gas is over $4 a gallon, and there is so much concern about the overall economy, is a testament to how important people feel Abbeville General is to our communities. Over the past weeks, I have been encouraged by the number of people who have told me what public ownership of their hospital, and continued control by residents and their representatives, means to them. I believe this election was a vote of confidence in our physicians, nurses, and other hospital employees, and the quality of care they provide, as well as an endorsement of the leadership our hospital continues to give.”

By the passage of the sales tax, it means an end of a property tax the hospital has been collecting.

For years, the hospital has collected $700,000 a year from a property tax. The money went toward the emergency room.

Before the election. Landry said if the tax passed, he would go to the Vermilion Parish Tax Assessor’s Office on Monday to stop the property tax collection.

Landry said, “We would like to thank all the citizens of Hospital Service District No. 2 for their continued support and for allowing Abbeville General Hospital to provide healthcare services that are important to our community.”

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