Scott County commission votes to extend deadline for hospital

Scott County commission votes to extend deadline for hospital buyer

The hospital closed last May. The hospital closed last May.

6 News Reporter

HUNTSVILLE (WATE) - A bid to purchase the Scott County Hospital is still alive.

Scott County Commissioners voted Monday evening to extend the deadline for buyer SM Promen to come up with the necessary funding to purchase the hospital.

The initial deadline was Jan. 31. Commissioners voted to extend the deadline to Feb. 28.

Despite frustration among commissioners, the final decision came down to the fact that SM Promen was still the fastest way to reopen the hospital in the county.

"If we had terminated, who knows how long we could go until we actually found another group, another operator," said Mayor Jeff Tibbals. "We could be months into the process to get a purchasing agreement to send to the state and the attorney general's office. Then the 45 days again and then you'd have the 60-90 days to open after the agreement, if funding was in place, this was definitely the shortest route if [Irving Sawyer's, the president of SM Promen] comes through."

In exchange for extending the deadline, Sawyer gave the county $20,000 to cover security, electricity and other maintenance costs for the building through the end of February.

The company must come up with $3 million to open and operate the hospital. Sawyers presented a letter of commitment on Monday to the commission that demonstrated he had an investor committed to $2 million. He said he can easily come up with the remainder by the end of the month.  

"We have new investors that are more attuned to Scott County's needs and we have another group of banks that we're drawing lines of credit," said Sawyer.

SM Promen was selected for the contract last July.

Mayor Tibbals said if they company still cannot produce the funds by the end of the month they will most likely hold a similar meeting on March 1st.

"If they don't have the money by then, I can almost guarantee we will terminate the contract," Tibbals said.

But Sawyers said that is not going to happen.

"There are other investors out there. We have found them. But they haven't committed. We have to get them committed and that takes a bit of time," he explained.

Sawyers told county commission once the deal is complete, it will take between 60-90 days to actually open the hospital.  

The hospital, once called St. Mary's Hospital of Scott County, closed last May after the county's contract with former operator HMA ran out and was not renewed.

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