Animals running at Large, is the Price worth the cost?
Updated: Aug 18, 2022
Of all the duties Oline Price has failed to perform as Revenue Commissioner and could be disciplined for, Oline Price was arrested by OPD for violation of city ordinance 4-78: “large animal running at large”. While allowing one’s animal to trespass on neighbor’s property is unlawful, the pecuniary damage pales in comparison to the damage she currently does to every taxpayer in the county. To add insult to injury, two years after she vacates office, when her contributions have been exhausted, the taxpayers of Lee County will be saddled with the supernumerary retirement that the County Commission has generously rubber-stamped.
It supports the idea that when her contributions to the retirement plan have been exhausted, the Lee County treasury is on the hook and will pay her $1 million dollars of taxpayer money. That money will come out of the taxpayer’s pocket.
Folks, there is more than one animal running at large in Lee County and these animals injure every taxpayer in Lee County. Not shown on the property tax bill is a special hospital tax that subsidizes EAMC every year. In 2017, the tax generated $5.5 million. Mrs. Price does not itemize this tax on the tax bill and when a taxpayer asked for the amount of money the tax generated for EAMC, Mrs. Price declined to divulge current amounts the tax generates for EAMC. Lee County is blessed to have a hospital, but its support of the hospital must be conditioned on the hospital providing proper care and complying with state and federal laws. Lee County has a duty to discipline the hospital when it fails to provide due care or commits fraud. When EAMC was guilty of placing stents in folks who didn't need them, the Court ordered it to pay. It also was forced to settle a $6 million suit against its wholly owned subsidiary, Aperian Lab Solutions. A $31.7 M bond was then floated by EAMC, but understand, by law the bond must first be approved by the county commission. The way to discipline the EAMC Animal is for the County Commission to deny bond funds until those responsible for malpractice and fraud are held accountable and policies are changed. Additionally, EAMC is required by Federal law to post prices for standard procedures so the public can shop price. EAMC has not posted prices. It does not follow HIPAA laws. It continues to use the Covid excuse to disallow the patient's right to see the records. No one at EAMC is ever held accountable for these unlawful violations, yet the County Commission denies having any oversight and refuses to discipline EAMC for its greed and fraud.
When Mrs. Price fails to itemize each tax on the property tax bill, the taxpayer is left in the dark about how much the hospital is financed by tax. The county has declined to discipline EAMC for its greed and fraud. So why did the county commission reward Mrs. Price with a supernumerary retirement which will cost the taxpayers over a million dollars? This information is from the handbook for Alabama Co. Commissioners and the AL Constitution (Amendment 641 of the Alabama Constitution phasing out supernumerary programs in Lee County), ACCA's Supernumerary Tax Collectors, the May 24, 2021 County Commission and attending Resolution 05242021 authorizing Mrs. Price's Supernumerary.
Our sympathy is not just for the victim of the Prices’ animal at large, but even more with the taxpayer who must endure the incompetence of the Revenue Commissioner and the taxpayer who must endure paying her long after she leaves office. My sympathy is with the children of taxpayers who will continue to pay the special hospital tax, so long as there is an outstanding bond debt according to the law. EAMC will arrange that there will ALWAYS be a bond debt. The last bond issue occurred in 2018 for $31.7 M. EAMC generally floats a bond 2 or 3 times per decade. Mrs. Price has not earned the supernumerary; it’s time to require her to keep the public informed and do her job. It’s time to encourage the County Commission to discipline EAMC and not allow it a carte blanche to commit fraud and then endorse a bond issue [transfer that debt onto the Lee County taxpayer] to pay for the fraud. It's time for transparency and accountability. It’s time to pen the Animals.