BCMH making progress reigning in expenses

The Bamberg County Memorial Hospital is making significant progress in reducing and eliminating its expenses hospital administrators informed Bamberg County Council members at their November meeting. Since November 1, the hospital has eliminated $780,000 or ($65,000 per month) worth of expenses off its books.

In presenting the hospital’s financial report for the month, interim CFO Sally Border reported that in September $75,000 in management fees was written off. Border noted in her presentation the “biggest thing” that concerned the county, the hospital building and land that were on the hospital’s books and belonged to the county was turned back over to the county resulting in a savings of over $3 million dollars.

“We’re making lots of progress,” hospital CEO John Hales said in reference to the hospital’s attempt to reign in its expenses. Hales noted that since he has been CEO for the last month, the “concentration” has been on “cutting expenses, expenses, expenses” and paying old and current bills.

“We delivering babies and in the operating room taking care of gunshot wounds and stabbings, that’s not the good part. The babies are the good part and stabbings and shootings the bad part, but we’re taking care of them.”

Also during the meeting:

• County finance director Thomas M. Thomas reported that collections were at 23 percent for 2011-2012 and year-to-date total collections were $1,722,119. At this time county expenditures were at 29 percent for a year-to-date total of $2,199,789.

• In the administrator’s report administrator Rose Dobson-Elliott reported the county’s Workman Compensation Audit had been completed and the county received a check back for $2,277. Dobson-Elliott thanked County Assessor Doretta Elliott for her part in the successful audit. Dobson-Elliott noted that progress is being made working with MAMAS and that documents are being traded back and forth.

• After holding a public hearing in which no comments were made, County Council members gave third reading approval, pending approval of the county attorney and administrator, to a proposed ordinance authorizing the execution and delivery of a fee in lieu of tax and SSRC Agreement by and between Bamberg County South Carolina and Masonite Corporation providing for a payment of a Fee in Lieu of Taxes and other related matters. It was noted in discussion that the exact amount of fees have not been computed at this point and will be set at the current millage rate “right now” so the company can “anticipate” what its tax rate will be going forward.

• Council members gave second reading approval to a proposed ordinance redistricting of certain Bamberg County Council District Lines in Bamberg County as in Plan 1. Council member Chris Wilson voted against the proposed ordinance.

• Under new business Council members approved a lease agreement and option to purchase between Bamberg County as lessor/optionor and Masonite Corporation as lessee/optionee for property located at 1349 Locust Avenue, in Denmark.

• Council members approved a proclamation, proclaiming November 2011 as National Hospice Month in Bamberg County.

In the public comments portion of the meeting, County resident Sarah Noel asked if a location had been designed for the proposed county wellness center and if funds had been appropriated. Council member Alzena Robinson noted that a location has been designated for the center but no county funds have been used at this time. It was also noted by Council member Chris Wilson that no formal vote has been taken on the designated location of the proposed center.

Noel also wanted to know if Council was “thinking forward” in attempting to bring infrastructure for industry in light of the “black eye” the city of Denmark has received concerning its water system.