Marianna Half-Cent Sales Tax Referendum

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Voters in one northwest Florida County may soon be asked to approve a half-cent sales tax referendum. The revenue would fund construction of a new hospital in Marianna.

Jackson hospital's current building was built in 1978 but after nearly three-decades in use, administrator David Hample says the facility is now dated.

Hample points to limited space, and little room to grow; he along with the board of trustees have recommended a half-cent sales' tax initiative to pay for a new hospital which will cost around $50 million.

"There’s an unacceptable migration from this county to Tallahassee, Dothan, to Panama City. We like to retain some of these patients that are going elsewhere for health care and I think we can," said Hample.

The hospital is asking that a half-cent sales tax referendum be placed before the voters; possibly as early as the November general election.

The far majority of area folks that we spoke with are in favor of a half-cent sales tax. Such a new building will help with the rapid population growth around.

"You have to go to Tallahassee, Panama City, or Dothan. We should do what we can to stay closer to home and a new hospital would help," said Doug Bottoms, Blountstown resident.

Marianna resident Othie Powell said, "Come over here you sit all night to see a doctor. we need more doctors and a larger hospital"

"We need another hospital and we have to get it anyway we can get it. we will pay a sales tax. We need it," said Lisa Folsom.

It'll be up to the Jackson County commission to place a referendum on the ballot. It's believed a half-cent sales tax would generate about $3 million in revenue.

If a half-cent sales tax is approved, a portion of the proceeds will also go to the Campbellton-Graceville hospital.