Ray Reynolds Disingenuous Poor Mouthing About Luminant in the GR Reporter (June 2016)


 

Ray Reynolds Disingenuous Poor Mouthing About Luminant in the GR Reporter (June 2016)
 


5 June 2016 at 10:37:53 AM
salon

Amused at a couple of things in the Glen Rose Reporter article of June 2, 2016 that deals with Luminant's not having paid the entire property tax value yet due to their bankruptcy proceedings. (Side note: As of last Thursday, Luminant filed notice of appeal papers in the 10th District Court of Appeals against Somervell County CAD.) 

What this means, in practical terms, is that Glen Rose Medical Center will not be, at least until after the appeal is heard, getting property tax money from Luminant. For a time line that Wes Rolllins of Somervell CAD talked about, with video, click here. Last week, at least one employee from Glen Rose Medical Center covertly sent out anonymous flyers denigrating Luminant for not being a "good neighbor" because Luminant hadn't paid property taxes due to the bankruptcy proceedings. (Because trashing the entity you hope will pony up money is ALWAYS the good way to go, yes? Hah) 

What's interesting is that Ray Reynolds and the Somervell County Hospital District were aware long before this about the looming bankrupcty and cannot claim, as Reynolds attempted to do in the latest Glen Rose Reporter paper of June 2, 2016 

"We've only been in a hospital district for three years, so we have no reserve funds...If you know what to expect then you can plan for it, but we have no idea when we can expect payment".

Please. How is it that OTHER Somervell County entities, including Somervell County Commissioners Court, knew about the looming bankruptcy and prepared for it for the last couple of years, including making budget cuts? I distinctly recall John Curtis, County Commissioner for Precinct 2, doing a presentation several years ago (October 2013)  for Commissioners Court in which he talked frankly about what services would be impacted by less property tax money from Luminant's bankruptcy. He had a list of services that were essential vs non-essential on papers hanging on his wall!  In other words, the commissioners court was not only preparing citizens for what could happen, but themselves taking active and thoughtful steps for the next budgeting session. Somervell CAD as well knew, Wes Rollens has not only been on top with the local situation but informed about how other communities in Texas were/are dealing with the same thing.  (Link is from 26 June 2015 CAD meeting). And, of course. When you have such a high percentage of property taxes coming all from one basket, it's only the prudent and responsible action to take to prepare. 

And, despite Reynolds poor mouthing to the paper, he and the Somervell County Hospital District board also knew about what was coming years back and, instead of making budget cuts, altering the size and services at the hospital, they decided to take out more loans, give raises to the employeesgive raises to the 501a doctors, (and this) and spend money via a loan on renovations to Pecan Family Medical Center (which is in Hood County's hospital district). Reminder that GRMC couldn't even make their bond payment to Somervell County (you know, that 14.4 million bond payment that Somervell County holds in their name but the district is responsible for)  Here's another link, with video, from July 2015 in which the whole issue of Luminant's bankruptcy was brought up at a board meeting. 

Oh, and remember that fancy schmancy dinner in Feb 2016 for the doctors at Inn on the River? And that wasn't the only one. 

More on that. 

Let's imagine a different scenario. GRMC was a private hospital that was leasing Somervell County property for cheap and  went to Chet Edwards for an earmark.

Edwards couldn't get the entire amount, more like half, so GRMC went to Somervell County Commissioners Court and asked them to give PUBLIC money to them as a PRIVATE entity. Mike Ford, who was then a commissioner, pushed this before benefit of a required IRS hearing. I wondered, in 2009, just how Gary Marks was going to make back that schedule of payments for the 14.4 million dollar bond. In fact, GRMC had been planning to try to get a hospital district going in order to collect required tax money. The first election failed, GRMC was taken over by Somervell County, but GRMC was still planning to hold a second election in order to create a hospital district.  Don't forget in 2013, GRMC decided to lowball the proposed tax rate on the hospital district election because they were afraid otherwise it wouldn't pass. The second election very narrowly passed.

At that point, GRMC could have made a decision to scale back and live within their means, including NOT operating a hospital district IN THE SAME TERRITORY as Hood County's hospital district. But nope. 

Suppose this was you and me. . You find out that your job is going to Mexico, and at some point in the next 6 months you'll be in the unemployment line. You consult with your family and say, we can't spend on this and that and the other, we must tighten out belts. If it turns out that the situation changes, we won't be any the worse, but it does involve sacrifice. 

GRMC pretended that all was as usual, maybe because they were trying to shmooze the self-important Pecan Plantation people who pay ZERO tax in Hood County's hospital district, and have a fancy, newly remodeled clinic in Pecan Plantation which people cannot enter without passing through a gate after getting permission (ie, this is not a PUBLIC clinic). 

As a side note, read Brad Watson, who is PR person for Luminant, talking about Comanche Peak property taxes (Brad Watson, yes, that Brad Watson, used to be a news anchor at channel 8)  Note that he indicates that, at least for the past 2 years, 

As power prices plummeted and especially in the past two years, we informed the Somervell County Appraisal District and county officials of our firm determination to arrive at a fair taxable value for Comanche Peak. So, we’re confident they’ve been aware for some time of how long this process may take.

And Ray Reynolds is apparently wanting to shift blame away from himself to Luminant. That might fly if it wen't for the irresponsible spending which GRMC did, while other county entities were prudent. 

 


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