This amendment shall apply in all counties except Mobile and Jefferson counties. The term "public hospital purposes" as used in this amendment shall be construed to include the acquisition by purchase, lease, or otherwise, and the construction, equipment, operation, and maintenance of public hospital facilities. The term "public hospital facilities" as used in this amendment shall be construed to include public hospitals, public clinics, public health centers, nurses' homes and training facilities, and related public health facilities of any kind.
If a majority of the qualified electors of any county in the state, except Mobile and Jefferson counties, who participate in an election held therein pursuant to the provisions of any amendment to the Constitution heretofore adopted shall vote at such election in favor of the levy and collection of a special county tax, within the limitations provided in such amendment, for any one or more of the purposes included within the meaning of the term public hospital purposes, the proceeds derived from the tax authorized at such election may be applied for any one or more of the purposes for which said tax may be so voted. Whenever the tax shall be voted the governing body of the county may anticipate the proceeds therefrom for any one or more of the purposes for which the tax shall be voted by issuing, without further election, interest bearing tax anticipation bonds, warrants, or certificates of indebtedness of said county payable solely from and secured by a pledge of not exceeding 75% of the annual proceeds from said tax received by the county.
The governing body of each county in which the said tax may be voted shall have the further power to designate as the agency of the county to acquire, construct, equip, operate and maintain public hospital facilities any public corporation heretofore or hereafter organized for hospital purposes in the county under any general law heretofore or hereafter enacted by the legislature. When a public corporation shall be so designated, the proceeds of said tax thereafter collected shall be paid over to it and shall be used by it for any one or more of the purposes for which the tax shall have been voted; provided, that payment of the proceeds of said tax to said public corporation shall be made only to such extent as will not result in the impairment of the obligation of any contract theretofore made with respect to said tax. Said public corporation may anticipate the proceeds from said tax so required to be paid to it by issuing, for any one or more of the purposes for which the tax shall have been voted, the bonds, warrants, or certificates of indebtedness of said public corporation, and may pledge for the payment of the principal thereof and interest thereon not exceeding 75% of the annual proceeds from said tax so paid to it.
Each county in which the tax shall be voted, and in the event a public corporation shall have been designated as the agency of such county pursuant to the provisions hereof then said public corporation, shall have the power to contract with any other county or similar public corporation with respect to the acquisition by purchase, lease, or otherwise, and the construction, equipment, operation, and maintenance of public hospital facilities outside of the county and within any zone or region of which the county may be a part, and which may have heretofore been established or may hereafter be established for public hospital purposes by the legislature or by any agency designated by it, the obligations of such contract to be payable solely out of the proceeds of said tax; provided, that the proceeds of said tax shall not be used outside of the county for any purpose for which the proceeds could not be used in the county, and shall not be used with respect to public hospital facilities located outside of the county if the tax is voted specifically for public hospital facilities located in the county.
No securities issued or contracts made by a county under the authority of this amendment, which are payable solely out of the proceeds of said tax, and no securities issued or contracts made by any such public corporation, whether or not issued or made under the authority of this amendment, shall be construed to be bonds of the county or of a political subdivision thereof within the meaning of section 222 of the Constitution, or construed to create or constitute an indebtedness of the county within the meaning of section 224 of the Constitution. Said securities shall be construed to be negotiable instruments notwithstanding the fact that they may be payable solely from a limited source. All pledges of said tax and all contracts made with respect thereto pursuant to the provisions of this amendment shall take precedence in the order in which they are made and shall create a charge on the proceeds of said tax prior to the expenses of operating and maintaining any public hospital facilities.
In each instance in which a special county tax for any one or more of the purposes included within the meaning of the term "public hospital purposes" has heretofore been authorized at an election held in a county pursuant to the provisions of any amendment to the Constitution heretofore adopted, all provisions of this amendment shall be applicable in said county to the same extent as if said election had been held after the adoption of this amendment.
This amendment shall be self-executing.