By Amanda McBride
The Choctaw Plaindealer
Surprise filled the Choctaw County courtroom on January 21 when Pioneer Health Systems delivered the news that they are terminating their lease with the county.
Steve Fontaine, vice president of hospital operations of Pioneer Health Systems, said handed the board a letter stating terminating their lease with the county.
The Choctaw County Board of Supervisors met in the courtroom due to the Grand Jury meeting in their boardroom.
He explained that they are terminating the lease due to non-payment of the $73,500 quarterly indigent care payment from the county.
“Long story short, we are enacting that clause to part ways,” said Fontaine.
In previous Board of Supervisors meetings, the board has asked Pioneer for a statement of how much money in indigent care they have spent in Choctaw County.
In this meeting, Steve Wright, board attorney, said the county has asked for a statement from Pioneer explaining how much in indigent care funds they spent for the quarter.
Fontaine said the requested statement of indigent care “is not required in the lease or state law and we are not going to provide that.”
Pioneer plans to operate the hospital, medical office building and nursing home until August 1.
After the discussion, Fontaine and Allen Gamble, hospital administrator, left the meeting.
Later in the meeting, the board approved to recognize receipt of the letter from Pioneer and to enter it into their minutes.
On a different matter, the supervisors discussed making a $250,000 payment to the bonds sinking fund. Chris McIntire, board president, said Bancorp South sent a letter to the county stating this payment is due now. The county is required to make a minimum payment of $250,000 to the sinking fund this year and next year. Also, the county is required to have one full bond payment in the sinking fund by March 2016, according to McIntire. One full bond payment is approximately $1.4 million.
After a discussion on current and future bond payments and the bonds sinking fund requirement, the board approved to make the $250,000 sinking payment out of Fund 225.
The board also briefly discussed installing a camera system in the E-911 center for the dispatchers’ safety.
“Let’s put up a camera system at 911 for their safety,” suggested District 2 Supervisor Larry McClain.
“That’s offering them the upmost protection,” continued District 5 Supervisor Eric Chambers.
The board agreed to have Steve Montgomery gather more information and prices.
The supervisors also approved:
-Agenda after adding Pigeon Roost Road Closure.
-Inventory deletion of a in operable 1996 F150 from District 5 and to recognize that it may be a beneficial use to the county at a later date.
-Recognized a policy and procedure manual for E-911 as submitted by Anita Davis, 911 director.
-Recognize Pam Bradberry as a full-time dispatcher at the Sheriff’s Department as requested by Sheriff Cloyd Halford.
-To advertise to close a portion of Pigeon Roost Road in District 2.
-To closeout the previous Reform Sturgis Road Slide Project.
-Recognized certificate of attendance for Circuit Clerk Peggy Miller.
-Recognized and enter into minutes the notice of lawsuit from Quantum Choctaw Power vs. Lori Kerr, Choctaw County tax assessor and Choctaw County.
The next Choctaw County Board of Supervisors meeting will be Friday, January 31 at 9 a.m. at the courthouse.