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Celina Aldermen Give Mayor Approval To Negotiate Hospital Purchase

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Celina Aldermen Give Mayor Approval To Negotiate Hospital Purchase

The Celina Board of Aldermen supports Mayor Luke Collins asking Clay County for funding to assist in purchasing the Cumberland River Hospital.

The go ahead was a part of an unanimously passed motion at a special called meeting Thursday with Hospital Owner Johnny Presley. Collins said the commission’s answer will determine future negotiations with Presley.

“It’s a long journey, but I’d like to see us start moving down that journey,” Collins said. “If there comes a point where the county’s not going to help and we can’t get the donations and there is not enough money to do it, then we may just have to leave the journey.”

Presley said he is willing to work with the county and city on a purchase, but he needs to know if the money is there before moving forward. Presley said other buyers have expressed interest, and he plans to act soon.

“I am at the point that I have exhausted all my abilities to work with anybody in this county, and I want to go work where people want healthcare and where they want to have people to work,” Presley said. “I’ve exhausted my last year and half and spent million of dollars doing that. I’ve not gotten anywhere. What I am saying is somebody has to do something.”

The asking price of $1.5 million includes the facility, property and a Certificate of Need, a document required to provide medical service. City Attorney Jimmy White said the city needs to commit how much it is willing to put in moving forward.

“What would we be willing to chip in and how could we structure an offer to him if that is what we want to do,” White said. “The county at some point would have to decide do we want to structure and use any of this money and then, you would get into who would be the owner of the property and go from there.”

If a purchase is made, the next question is how to fund the hospital’s operation. Presley said the hospital costs about one million dollars a year to staff, and the city would likely lose a half million dollars in the first six months.


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