Tri-Lakes Medical Center

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Judge: Tri-Lakes obligated to pay ‘06, ‘07 taxes

By John Howell Sr. and Billy Davis

U. S. Bankruptcy Judge David Houston last week signed the final order that awards Panola County $992,180 for Tri-Lakes Medical Center’s ad valorem taxes in 2006 and 2007.

Panola Chancery Clerk Jim Pitcock said that the total would be divided between the county, the City of Batesville and the South Panola School District.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The amount each receives will be based on a “breakdown on what the millage was at that time,” he said, referring to 2006 and 2007.

Panola County Tax Assessor/Collector David Garner collects taxes for the county, the city and the school district.

The judge’s order does not affect the hospital’s new owners, doctors’ syndicate Alliance Health Partners, since the tax issue relates to former owner Physicians and Surgeons Group.  

The city and county hired attorneys David Blaylock of Memphis and Al Welshans, who has offices in Batesville and Southaven, to represent its interest in the hospital’s ad valorem taxes after UPS  Capital Credit and Stillwater National Bank, objected to their payment.

The financiers claimed that state law exempts non-profit hospitals from ad valorem taxes.

Welshan and Blaylock argued that the 2005 sales agreement signed by Dr. Robert Corkern, and later transferred to the city and county, stated that the hospital would pay the taxes even though it was organized as a non-profit organization.

Bill McKenzie, board attorney for the Board of Supervisors, announced the judge’s ruling Monday morning to the county board.

He described the judge’s order as “immediate cash money” for Panola County government, which is reeling from the current recession.