Supervisor: Would be ‘catastrophic’ if hospital defaulted on payment

NATCHEZ — Natchez Regional Medical Center wants to take Adams County’s taxpayers off the hook as cosigners for its revenue bond.

The Natchez Democrat reports the Mississippi Development Bank in 2006 required the hospital to show collateral before it would reissue the revenue bond.

Adams County pledged a 5-mill standby tax that would not be collected unless it was needed. It has not been levied.

Three years later, the hospital declared bankruptcy, though it never missed a payment on the bond.

“We — and by ‘we’ I mean the board — think that our financial situation has improved to the point where that is no longer necessary,” said hospital board attorney Walter Brown.

The millage backing the bond is tied to the county’s homestead exemption, Supervisor Mike Lazarus said.

“The taxpayers of this county co-signed this note, and they could lose their homestead exemption on this note,” he said. “If they defaulted on this people who have never had to pay taxes on their houses would have to start paying taxes. It would be catastrophic.”

Board of Supervisors president Darryl Grennell said he “would feel very good” to know that the county would not have to back the hospital’s bond any longer.

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