Hospital debt forces significant millage increase in Marion County

MARION COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Residents in Columbia and Marion County will be paying higher property taxes come the first of the year.

The Marion County Board of Supervisors voted Thursday to raise the millage rate by 4.07 to 142.49. The increase was necessary because it was recently discovered the Marion General is $6,000,000 in debt.

Forrest General recently came to an agreement to take over complete operation of the hospital after the first of the year. Board President, Randy Dyess, says Forrest General has agreed to commit to about half of the debt,  leaving about 2.8 million for the County and City to absorb.

He says although the increase in millage is necessary, he knows it will cause hardship for many people.

"People are struggling right now to buy groceries, buy medication, buy gas, pay utilities, water bill, whatever," said Dyess. "People who are on a limited income, this is really going to hurt those people. It's going to hurt everyone, whether you have money or not."

Dyess said that many in attendance for the meeting demanded the board have an audit done to determine why the hospital was so far in debt.

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