Free Money Or An Invitation To Slavery | Eastern North Carolina Now

    I am hearing a lot of chatter, actually criticism, about Beaufort County refusing to accept the $500,000 of so called "free money" offered to us by Vidant during the early stages of the closing of the Pungo District Hospital. Hyde County took the $250,000 offered to them.

    Why would not Beaufort take the money? We have a 52 million dollar budget and more than ten million dollars of surplus funds. Vidant demanded that we make the decision within abut two weeks. That is your first clue there is treachery in the air. Hyde County has a budget of about 11 million dollars. If you base Vidants offer to us on the size of the budget we should have been offered five times as much or 1.25 million dollars.

    The amount of money offered was not the issue. There are always strings attached to "free" money. Beaufort county gets more than 100 million dollars each year of "free" money. The schools get more than 50 million, the various welfare programs get more than 50 million. Every dollar of that money has strings attached. The school money is used mostly to pay school teachers. Other money is used to pay for welfare and food stamp programs. We really do not get to keep it. If the County makes a mistake and miss appropriates money we are liable and have to make it up from the taxpayers pockets.

    All of the seven commissioners knew, even those who did not vote to loan Pungo District Hospital the 2 million dollars, that taking the money from Vidant would have guaranteed the closing of Pungo District Hospital. The reason is that the $500,000 had to be used to increase the level of emergency ambulance service from the EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) level to the Paramedic level. We would have had to sign an agreement and that agreement would not have allowed Beaufort County to come to Pungo District Hospital's aid. We would not have been allowed to offer the 2 million dollar loan had we taken the $500,000.

    The $500,000 was chump change for what Vidant wanted us to do. At least three and possibly four of the emergency ambulance services in eastern Beaufort County would have had to be up graded to the paramedic level. The paramedic level of service requires more equipment on board the ambulance along with more drugs and a licensed paramedic. It is impossible to do this with volunteers. We would have required a minimum of four full time paramedics at each of the four locations, a supervisor, and some new ambulances. We estimated the cost at a minimum of 2 million dollars per year. In addition the rest of the county would have demanded the same services. Even though we could recover some of the cost by billing from those who used the service, the cost before billing these customers would have been about 4 million dollars to the county. In addition we estimated one year would be required to set up the service. It takes one year to train a paramedics.

    Why did Vidant offer to do this in the first place? The paramedic level of service is the closest thing to an emergency room. Vidant says they are not providing either a hospital or and emergency room in Belhaven after April 1, 2014. This offer helped Vidant much more than Beaufort County. The tax payers would have been saddled with the cost of operating and training a medical service in addition to taxing the citizens. Vidant would still get that business at the Beaufort County Hospital. That would have been a good business deal for Vidant had we taken it.

    From the standpoint of the economy and health care for the citizens of Beaufort County we are better off to promote having a hospital in Belhaven. It provides jobs, enhances the future of the Town of Belhaven and they have emergency services without raising taxes in Beaufort County .

    Several candidates for county commissioner advocate for the taking of the money. They simply do not get it. Voters may want to ask these gentlemen to define prostitution. I define it as a short term gain with a very long term and devastating liability.

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( March 30th, 2014 @ 1:51 pm )
'All that glitters is not Gold.'

Good politicians learn that maxim, or the exact reverse of it, or eventually, most will get found out. Hood and I are doing our best to help with that.
( March 30th, 2014 @ 1:07 pm )
Good information. I am so proud Beaufort County officials stood the moral ground instead of taking the road of greed and corruption.

Congressman Walter Jones Takes Action The Hood Territory, Editorials, Op-Ed & Politics Teacher Pay: A Problem Money Can't Fix


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