Giving Somervell Taxpayer Money to Provide Services to Gated Community in Hood CountySomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas
Giving Somervell Taxpayer Money to Provide Services to Gated Community in Hood County
16 May 2013 at 1:08:02 PM
Here's the situation. Rich people who live in gated community Pecan Plantation reside in Hood County, which has its own hospital district. Pecan Plantation residents do not pay any tax in the Hood County hospital district. Because Pecan Plantation residents already are in a hospital district (Hood), they likewise, if they felt it was important also to pay taxes to the hospital district that services them, cannot do a petition to try to join Somervell's impending district. Essentially, then Somervell County taxpayers are paying for services that Pecan Plantation (and maybe Decordova) residents are not being taxed for, and are thus benefitting from us.
There has been, to my knowledge, no county commissioner or hospital authority meeting in which this has been discussed, or brought up to Somervell County residents of the pros and cons of doing this, aside from a town hall meeting a couple of years ago when the first time the hospital district was proposed. Here's what Larry Shaw said at the time.
Now, we already know that at least one person in Somervell County does not mind sending tax dollars to this gated community. I'm sure that others, like me, do. Certainly it must give the Pecan Plantation people some happiness that they can consider they are the ones to majority fund the hospital without having to pay taxes themselves. The question is not whether Pecan is a loss leader or not, but whether it is appropriate or legal for Somervell County residents to be paying for this, and if not, what would the hospital do to run itself without relying on residents outside the county boundaries.
So, laying this out. We believe, although it is not tested as proof, that it is not legal for the soon Somervell County hospital district to spend any Somervell county taxpayer money outside the district. IF THIS IS SO, then what would happen is that Glen Rose Medical Center would lose what GRMC says is a signifcant part of their funding. At that point, the hospital district might say they have to raise taxes to make up for the shortfall or they might have to cut back services (in fact, that's pretty much the same thing that the county commissioners, without a hospital district) would have to do.
I guess I'm getting confused. You have stated that the residents of Pecan Plantation do not pay any taxes to the Hood County Hospital District but their website says this: "Pecan Plantation residents do not pay city taxes." I haven't researched this but I would be very surprised if they don't actually pay county taxes that would include a percentage for the HCHD.
Assuming they do, then the HCHD probably contributes some of those funds to their partnership/lease, for-profit agreement with CHS that in turn invests those monies at Lake Granbury Medical Center and at the two facilities they have here in our county. Would this be considered illegal according to your interpretation of the laws regulating Hospital Districts in Texas?
First part of your assumption is not correct. The Hood County Hospital District apparently does not collect taxes for the hospital due to the agreement they have with Lake Granbury/CHS, I believe the Hospital District has a dba with Lake Granbury. Pecan Plantation is part, of course, of Hood County Hospital District.. I have been told that because Lake Granbury is a financial success, that's one reason why residents of the county are not taxed.
They apparently made a deal about taxes; here's an example of a deal CHS made with Weatherford. http://weatherforddemocrat.com/x1155966918/Campbell-board-votes-to-lease-with-CHS/print -
I think, am confirming, that Lake Granbury is akin to Glen Rose Medical Center when it was a non-profit. When GRMC was in that situation, as a private entity that was leasing FROM Somervell County, they could choose to put clinics anywhere they wanted, including Pecan Plantation. Once taxpayer money became involved, as in when it became a hospital authority supported by taxpayers, that should have stopped.
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I don't know what deal HCHD made with CHS but here's the deal it made with their taxpayers, in part, when the district was voted in:
SPECIAL DISTRICT LOCAL LAWS CODE
TITLE 3. HEALTH
SUBTITLE A. HOSPITAL DISTRICTS
CHAPTER 1042. HOOD COUNTY HOSPITAL DISTRICT OF HOOD COUNTY, TEXAS
(a) The board shall impose a tax on all property in the district subject to district taxation.
(b) The tax may be used only to:
(1) pay the interest on and create a sinking fund for bonds issued under this chapter;
(2) provide for the operation and maintenance of the district and hospital system;
(3) make improvements and additions to the hospital system; and
(4) acquire sites for additions to the hospital system.
The board may impose the tax at a rate not to exceed 75 cents on each $100 valuation of all taxable property in the district.
If, as you believe, the law says it is illegal for a HD to operate facilities in other counties, wouldn't that still apply even if the HD had contracted its operations to another entity? And if there is some kind of loophole that allows the HCHD to invest in another county because of their deal with CHS, doesn't that create an unfair, competitive disadvantage for the other HDs that are competing for the same patients?
While Hood County taxpayers are apparently fine with their dollars being invested for profit in Somervell county, approximately half of Somervell County taxpayers, including you, are not in favor of for-profit investment outside of the county by our Hospital Authority/proposed HD, if legal, thereby restricting GRMC's ability to compete in the market place.
HB.I think you have a good question. Nothing stops you as well as me from calling up the entities in question to ask specifically about this. I put in a call yesterday to Hood county and am waiting a call back. The other person who told me this is an executive with the district. IF it is the case, as I have been told, that, regardless of what the hospital district *can* do, they are NOT collecting taxes from Hood Co citizens and have contracted with private CHS to provide hospital services, with CHS leasing space, then it's akin to GRMC when it was a private hospital leasing space from Somervell County. Presuming that what I have been told, not merely from this executive but from others within our county, that it is the case that Hood county residents are not paying tax for the district because of the deal they have with CHS, then it is not picking their pocket for CHS to operate clinics anywhere they please, and I doubt they would complain. If I, when my next phone call is returned, get a conflicting view, with documentation, will post it.
It seems to me that whether or not Pecan Plantation or any other property owner in Hood County pays taxes to their county's HD is irrelevant to us here in Somervell County. What is relevant is whether or not a Hospital Authority or HD in Texas is legally allowed to pursue revenue producing activities in another county outside of their district. I will continue to believe it is allowed until proved otherwise.
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