Local News

5/7/2013

City sides with hospital group

By GORDON JACKSON The Brunswick News

ST. MARYS -- City officials unanimously approved a resolution Monday to support the city's embattled hospital authority.

The resolution also includes an attached proclamation in support of the authority that was approved in 2010.

Prior to the vote, Larry White of St. Marys spoke in support of the senior center managed by the authority. He criticized state Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, for his probe into the authority's spending and his failure to mention the positive benefits to the health of seniors in the program.

Spencer believes the $3.6 million in the authority's bank account, money generated from the sale of a convalescent center, should be used for indigent health care. The hospital authority, which has the funding, spends it on senior care programs.

"He did not provide any solutions to the problem," White said of Spencer. "I think everybody should think about how to provide for seniors. We can't help that we live longer."

City officials approved the resolution of support with little discussion, though councilman Jim Gant predicted the issue will likely ultimately be resolved in court.

"We certainly support the seniors and the authority for what they are doing," Gant said.

After the meeting, the authority's lawyer, Jim Stein, said he was surprised by the vote.

"It's acceptance by them with what we're doing," Stein said in a phone interview. "We didn't expect this. It certainly does help."

City officials also discussed the ongoing conflict between crab fishermen and sailboat owners who have been at odds over the use of docks along the St. Marys waterfront and where the boats are anchored in the river.

Mary Verlaque of St. Marys expressed concern the city is getting an image of being unfriendly toward sailboat owners.

"St. Marys is a place well known to the cruising public," she said.

Verlaque cited a recent international award given to the city because it's been so hospitable to cruisers in the past. She said the recent 30-minute time limit for boats to tie up at city docks will discourage boat owners from coming to the city, saying it's too little time for people to run errands or eat a meal.

"What are we going to do in 30 minutes?" she asked. "We're concerned there is a posting saying stay away instead of welcome. I'm concerned the opinion is St. Marys doesn't like boaters any more.

Mayor Bill Deloughy assured her the city welcomes all visitors.

* Reporter Gordon Jackson writes about Camden County and other local topics. Contact him at gjackson@thebrunswicknews.com, on Facebook or at 464-7655.