SCDA President and CEO says Hospital is significant for attracting new industry to county

During Wednesday’s Stephens County Hospital meeting, Stephens County Development Authority President and Chief Executive Officer Brittany Ivey explained how important Stephens County Hospital is in recruiting new industry to the county.

Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce President Julie Paysen introduced Ivey during the meeting. Paysen says the community is blessed to have Stephens County Hospital and encourages the community to protect this asset.

“This whole topic, it’s just time for us to buckle down as a community because it affects our entire community and our economic development in a big way. We are very blessed to have a hospital here, and we are going to do our best to keep that asset in our community,” she said.

Paysen says a lot of people are quick to say, ‘sell the hospital,’ but, there’s a lot more to that than they realize.

“I think it’s easily said, ‘we just need to sell out to a bigger hospital,’ but here’s what we’ve got to think about; that doesn’t ensure that any of the services that we currently have available will continue to be available if somebody else is in charge. You know, that’s one recommendation we get, as far as word of mouth through the community, but it’s not always the best option,” she said.

Ivey says the first thing prospective industries ask her is if Stephens County has a hospital.

As WNEG News reported on Thursday, the main topic during Wednesday’s meeting was the significance of the Georgia Rural Hospital Tax Credit Program.

Ivey stressed that through the Georgia Rural Hospital Tax Credit Program it’s not an unreasonable goal for Stephens County to try to reach the $4 million max from the program.

“It’s not an unobtainable goal to raise $4 million this way. There’s 26,000 people in Stephens County. 400 families giving the max of $10,000 gets us to $4 million and that turns everything around. So, let’s not throw our hands up and say ‘this can’t be done,’ it can be done,” she said.

Again, the Georgia Rural Hospital Tax Credit Program allows Georgia taxpayers to receive 100 percent state tax credit when they contribute to designated rural hospitals.

Because this is a tax credit, the contribution is applied directly against the amount the taxpayer owes in state taxes.

So, if a married couple gives $1,000 to a designated rural hospital, the actual amount of Georgia income tax they will owe is reduced by $1,000.

For more information about the Rural Tax Credit contact Stephens County Hospital Foundation Director Pamela Jones at 706-282-4254 or via email at pjones@stephenscountyhospital.com.