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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.
Generally, it is very difficult to gain voter approval for a tax increase, but sometimes the need is so great and the benefits so large, that voters go to the polls and vote for a tax increase.
That is exactly what occurred in Uintah County two years ago. The voters approved a .04% sales tax increase to fund and support the Uintah Care Center. In 1985, the Uintah County Hospital was sold and privatized. With a critical need for a long-term health care service in the area, proceeds from the hospital were used to build the Uintah Care Center.
The facility provides around the clock care for those in need of long-term nursing and medical care. There is care for dementia and Alzheimer patients and services for non-acute, short-term recovery and long-term rehabilitation and physical therapy.
Fifteen years after opening, the Care Center reached patient capacity. There was a long waiting list for admission. Many had to leave the county for care because space was not available. Expansion was very needed but funding was not available. What to do?
The voters were told that state law allowed additional sales tax to benefit rural county-owned and operated long-term health care facilities. Four-tenths of 1 percent would generate $6.8 million annually. That was a great deal of money, but still there was concern that additional support would be needed. The annual budget was $7.5 million.
Don Showalter recognized the need for help. During the last 18 months of his life he worked hard to generate support and contributions from the private sector. He and his family established the Showalter Family Charitable Trust to assist in keeping the fine facility operating and caring for Uintah County patients.
Thanks to the caring voters of the Basin and people like Don Showalter, a critical part of the area quality of life has been enhanced and those who need the health services of the Uintah Care Center can find them close to home and family.
For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.