Cookeville City Council approves CRMC budget, freezes PILOT

By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ

COOKEVILLE – Thursday, the Cookeville City Council approved the Cookeville Regional Medical Center (CRMC) FY22 budget by a vote of 4 – 0 with Mayor Ricky Shelton abstaining. The council also voted to freeze the amount of the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) that CRMC pays to the city on a yearly basis at $700,000 for seven additional years.

Councilman Mark Miller thanked CRMC CEO Paul Korth for “dealing” with the council throughout this process and answering its questions. “We’ve been educating ourselves on lots of the issues. Thanks for bearing with us through this,” he said. 

Korth expressed his openness to receiving any questions and said that this year it had been a difficult year because of the pandemic, and CRMC and the city council weren’t able to meet and discuss the budget like a normal year. He said that going forward he is open to hearing what information the council is looking for and has already received some suggestions.

Korth added that Councilman Chuck Womack has requested that the council be provided the minutes and financial statements from the monthly Board of Trustees meetings and those will go to City Manager James Mills for distribution to the council. 

The council also voted to contractually freeze the amount of the PILOT that CRMC pays to the city at $700,000 per year for the next seven years. This is the same amount CRMC has been paying to the city annually. This amount was frozen due to the added expense the hospital will be taking on in relation to correcting a retirement fund issue. CRMC staffers employed before the hospital became a Private Act hospital were still on the city’s Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) account and being funded at the city’s expense. CRMC will reimburse the city for those charges.

The resolution to freeze the PILOT passed 3 – 1 with Womack voting no and Shelton abstaining. 

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