Drew County voters will go to the polls Tuesday to consider extending a 1.8 mill hospital tax to refinance existing bonds at a lower rate in order to generate income for more hospital improvements. There will be no increase in the tax rate. Instead, the hospital is asking to extend the existing millage at the current rate.

The millage continuation would allow Drew Memorial Hospital to refinance at a lower rate the $1.2 million balance on existing bonds, providing income to build and equip a new surgery center, a power plant to serve the hospital, and other capital improvements for the hospital.

By having a special election, rather than placing the issue on the general election ballot, the issue will not be confused with other initiatives on the ballot, according to County Attorney Cliff Gibson.

“It’s just too important to have it on the general election ballot and run the risk of it being confused with other ballot initiatives which run the gamut from casinos to lord knows what,” Gibson said in a July interview.

The current hospital millage, which has been effect for more than 30 years, has been extended several times to fund hospital improvements.