By CARL SMITH
For the second straight meeting, formal discussion about OCH Regional Medical Center and its future is absent from the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisor’s meeting agenda.
The board will meet 5:30 p.m. today at the county courthouse and discuss a grant to fund county volunteer firefighters and hear a presentation from Mississippi Horse Park Director Bricklee Miller on her facility’s growth, economic impact and continued support from the county.
Since District 2 Supervisor Orlando Trainer will miss today’s meeting while on a planned absence, the board’s other four supervisors are not expected to discuss the hospital situation.
Austin Check, a representative for the county fire services, said Oktibbeha County will receive approximately $464,000 over the next two years to recruit new members, purchase equipment and reimburse firefighters for their time. Check said the reimbursement will give firefighters $5 for each emergency they respond to and will help the county when it attempts to improve its fire rating in the future.
“We make investments in equipment all of the time; however, the other part of the equation is now we’re investing in our personnel for the long term,” he said. “That will factor in hugely when we attempt to lower our ratings.”
Improved fire ratings would provide insurance breaks to homeowners. The state fire ratings bureau looks at factors like paid, trained personnel and firefighting infrastructure during ratings evaluations.
As for the Horse Park, Miller said she will ask the supervisors for a $70,000 commitment, the same amount she said she’ll seek from the Starkville Board of Aldermen Tuesday.
“To date, we’ve had over 500 events. From 2002 to now, the Mississippi Horse Park has provided $24.27 million in economic impact. For every dollar that the city and county invests, there’s a $12.20 return,” Miller said. “No (like) facility in the country is self-sufficient, but the nice thing about ours is the growth and the commitment from our partners. Our revenue growth has helped in the years, but it does still take a commitment from our partners to keep our public park open.”