November 29, 1999



Joel Harbinson, Chairman
John Watts, Vice Chairman
Wesley Bolick
David Odom
Darrell Robertson


Rick French, County Manager
Helen Anthony, Clerk to the Board
Edward Hedrick, IV, County Attorney

The Alexander County Commissioners held a Public Hearing on Monday, November 29, 1999 at 7:00 p.m. in the Alexander County District Court Room of the Alexander County Courthouse, Taylorsville, North Carolina.

Chairman Joel Harbinson called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

Rev. Gary Jennings led the Invocation. Commissioner John Watts led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

Chairman Harbinson stated that there would be no action taken tonight. The purpose of this Public Hearing is to get input in whether the County should accept the offer of Alexander Community Hospital for the County to take over the assets, debts, and management of the hospital. A list of citizens had called previously and requested to speak. Several names were added to the list at this time.

Lee Sharpe, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Alexander Community Hospital, was the first speaker. Mr. Sharpe gave some background information on the hospital, which opened in May 1950. In 1947, the General Assembly approved federal funds of 79.7% and Alexander County was responsible for 20.3% of the funds to build a hospital. Twenty-one citizens were elected to serve on the Committee that raised $43,000.00 on the first campaign. The community raised a total of $87,000.00 during the 2nd and 3rd campaigns. This was done by citizens’ sale of items, auctions, and hard work. In 1950, four doctors were on staff. Additions were made to the hospital at different years based on the needs of the medical staff. Many lives have been saved because of the Alexander Community hospital’s existence in Alexander County.

Mr. Charles McGinnis, Management Coordinator for Alexander County, was the second speaker. Mr. McGinnis gave a financial report on the hospital from September 30, 1996 to September 1998. There was an increase of patient deficits and assets had decreased in value. He reported the true assets to equal $8.5 million dollars and the deficit to equal $3.5 million. He will provide a detailed financial summary to the Commissioners to review.

Approximately 300 people attended the Public Hearing. Twenty- three citizens gave positive comments to reasons why the hospital should be kept operational in Alexander County.

Alexander Community Hospital Staff and Doctors, Town and County Officials, and many concerned citizens spoke:

Bob Phillips – Town Councilman; John Elder; Dr.Glenn Deal, Sr. – Taylorsville Mayor; Mrs. Wyenne Duncan – retired teacher; Dr. Walter Long – practice medicine 37 years in Alexander County; Jackie Teague; Dr. Steven Merrill – Staff at Alex. Hospital; Nancy Gardner; Amy Krohn; Becky Ingram; Kenneth Kerley; member original committee 50 years ago; Dale Clary – Alexander County Board of Education; Keith Hertzler – Director Alexander Chamber of Commerce; Susan Jenkins; Dr. Steven Sallard – Orthopedic Surgeon; George Holleman – Town of Taylorsville Manager; Barbara Berdine; Dr. Kalola – practice medicine here since1992; Marie Chapman – retired Nurse; Dr. Russell Faulkenberry – 25 years in Alexander County; Hilda Willet and Margaret Robinette – retired Nurses that were hired in 1950; Margaret Gwaltney – Home Town Development; Sheriff Ray Warren; Rev. Gary Jennings, Pastor, East Taylorsville Baptist Church.


Bob Phillips, Town Councilman, who has served on the Board of Directors for the hospital for 7 years, stated that 97% - 98% of other communities that had allowed their hospital to close realized that it was a mistake. This is not a time for politics to play a role in lives. Carefully look at the assets and liabilities. Look at lives of people that will be saved for this community.

Fourteen citizens gave testimonies of their life or a family member’s life being saved by the Staff at Alexander Community hospital.

Keith Hertlzer stated that we need 200 people at this Hearing to go out and educate the rest of the people on the needs of a hospital in this community.

Dale Clary gave testimony of being a senior in high school and Dr. Givens saving his life.

Several people stated that they would support the Commissioners with a tax increase if this would save the hospital.

George Holleman suggested that the Commissioners go to industry to get support for the hospital.

Sheriff Warren noted the expenses that the county would incur if we lost the hospital. He would need additional officers to transport inmates for medical treatments.

Rev. Gary Jennings stated that people will not live and cannot conceive living in a community without a hospital. With 100 churches in Alexander County, why haven’t we kept our people using this hospital? He encouraged the Commissioners to stabilize the needs of the total community. Create means to get rid of rumors and innuendos and provide a hospital for all people.

Each of the Commissioners made comments and requested support and commitment from the total community to help save the hospital.

Chairman Harbinson stated that the community must come together to save the hospital. The Commissioners need the efforts and ideas of everybody. We need to put away politics, and any other bias to save the hospital for the total community.

Chairman Harbinson declared the public hearing adjourned at 9:25 p.m.


______________________ ______________________________

Joel Harbinson, Chairman      Helen P. Anthony, Clerk to the Board