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Closure of Vidant Pungo has wide reaching impacts - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Closure of Vidant Pungo has wide reaching impacts

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Signs that once displayed the Vidant Pungo name outside of the hospital are now replaced with blank signs.

However, the full impact of the closure hasn't been felt yet.

"We haven't seen the impact yet of when our ambulance is gone, what happens when you have the second call," said Guinn Leverett, town manager for Belhaven.

Read previous story: Vidant Pungo closes its doors.

The closure of the hospital doesn't just impact medical treatments. Leverett also says it impacts things like utilities because the hospital represented roughly 10% of Belhaven's utilities income every year.

The loss of the hospital also forced taxes in the town to be raised between 5 and 8 percent.

"We've held the line at the tax rate and the loss of the hospital in one fell swoop, we didn't have any other place to go," Leverett said.

Julian Goff serves on the town council. He says the tax increase would only cover the loss of the hospital for a few years. After that, the town will be forced to make tough decisions.

"We'll just have to cut corners, reduce expenditures in various departments, just whenever and wherever we can do that," Goff said.

One area Goff said may be impacted is the restaurants in the town.

Sandra Andrews is a manager at Fish Hooks Restaurant. She says while the loss of the hospital may hurt the town, she's optimistic about the future of the business.

"I don't know what the futures going to be, but I don't know that I would hang it, all of the town's loss, on the loss of the hospital," Andrews said.

With the largest employer in the area now gone, the future of Belhaven could be at risk.

"We certainly hope we don't become a ghost town," Goff said. "But it's going to be difficult for the town to survive with such a major loss."

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