Videos from Somervell County Hospital District Tax Hearing 9/29/2016


 

Videos from Somervell County Hospital District Tax Hearing 9/29/2016
 


13 October 2016 at 3:11:24 PM
salon

Agenda

Public hearing on proposal to adopt an ad valorem tax rate for the year of 2016 of 17.37 cents on each $100 valuation of taxable property located within the Somervell County Hospital District. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the Hospital District's 2016 proposed tax rate. Public participation in the discussion is invited. 

(the Somervell County Hospital District board voted on Sep 30, 2016 for an effective tax rate of .1391798 for 2016/2017. 

Rough transcripts below

Part 1

Rough transcript

Citizen: You heard most of my feedback the other night. I stand pat on what I said. 

Citizen #2: What did you say if you don't mind me asking. 

Citizen 1: Well, we're in favor of the hospital being financed the way it should be. 

Citizen 2: in what way? 

Citizen 1: 17

Citizen 3: And I think Gary pointed that out very well when he said he had called Dairy Queen to see what a large Blizzard costs and it was the same as it would cost for a month, on average. And I thought that was a very interesing exampe.

Citizen 2: Is this the only. there is no place else to go except this route. Is that what you all think?

Reynolds: Legally we can pass any rate below this, just cannot pass rate exceeding maximum.

Citizen 2. You all believe we need to pass this at this rate or below this rate?

Reynolds: The big unknown is what the value 

Griffin: If we don't get that answer, we have to have this. 

Citizen 2: Okay. So what you're saying is you want to raise this tax because that is an unknown. So we have no option, this is the last and final option. 

Griffin: Right now. Yes

Harrison: I can tell you last year having been on the board 365 days ago I was extremely proud of the budget that was put together. It was a balanced budget, we had surplus in it, it looked good, we had growth plans, I was tickled.. at the rate that came in. It was still comparable to what we had the year before. If you'd have told me in September that the plant was going to pay a third of their taxes or whatever that number is come the end of January, honestly, when Ray called me and said Whew, the plant paid their taxes today but they only paid us X. So I said, is this a plan like they're paying us half now and half like in June, and it went downhill from there. And I'll be real honest, I'm glad I'm not sitting on that side of the room.. it's a bitter pill to swallow. Going from 365 days ago... to be at this point 1737 isn't enough. It's not. Period, to continue business as we were 365 days ago.

Citizen 2: Just out of curiousity, I've watched this thing from the last board to this one and I have seen many things released but I have never seen what we pay you... why is that?

Reynolds: It's out there, it's public information, 

C2: No no no hang on a second, yes, there's information out there, but you're being paid in more than one way. 

Reynolds: No. I have one salary allocated 75 percent to the hospital 25 percent to 501a and that's how I get paid. CFO sitting right here

C2: What do we pay him?

Reynolds: If you want me to tell em I'll tell em. I have no issue with that. 

C2: Wait just a second here. You should have no problem with that because it's a (?) money, it's the taxpayers money. So we should know. 

Reynolds: If you will fill out a public information request, I will have that to you the next day, send to my email address, public record request and I'll send it to you. I have no problem with that whatsoever. My salary has been the same since the day I was hired. 

C2: And I have an issue with Pecan Plantation. That crap I don't understand

Hankins: That's off subject

Reynolds: The issue is the tax rate of 17.37

C2: I find this completely and totally....

Reynolds: If you want to be present in our next board meeting at 7:00, we'll present on the screen a YTD financial statement, income statement for Pecan Plantation. 

C2: Ok, that's tonight.

Hankins That's an hour and twenty minutes from now

C2: Then, can anyone answer this question to me. You said it's off the subject but...Why is it that we have doctors that we pay that are there that we can't use as citizens of this county. 

? You can use them.

C2: YOu can use them if they'll take you. 

Harrison. that's the same problem with the doctors down here that aren't accepting new patients either. 

Reynolds: That clinic that is out there is in a gated community is there primarily to serve the residents of Pecan Plantation. If you want to see them, contact them and either Dr Carpenter or one of the midlevels will see you. Related to the tax rate, that entity makes money for us. If it wasn't for that entity, your tax rate in Somervell County would be higher. It makes money

C2: I just think there's more work to do... rather than raise the taxes on the people, ther'es something else that can be done. 

Griffin: I agree. But right now in the shape we're in because of EFH at this moment this is about the only thing that we can do to keep the hospital afloat. But you're right, there are other ways and other things that can be done but we ran out of time, budget.. this has to be done by October 1st. 

C2: So what is the lowest dollar that you're talking? 1737 is the maximum 

Griffin: 175 is the maximum, can only go up 8 percent. We can go lower but that would hurt us financially and jeopardize ability to keep doors open

Reynolds: Based on value of plant. .. we have taken well over 1 1/2 million dollrars in cost out of operation because of what EFH is doing. 

Griffin: We've taken away their health care and retirement benefits. 

? Some of us have a couple of jobs to keep us afloat.. I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name 

C2: Donna 

? I've never seen you at board meetings so I wonder where you're getting all your information. 

C2: I actually watch the videos

? Okay, good, that's why I was just curious. Not a problem

C2: I just honestly have watched this whole.. I would not have came to the first board meeting because it was chaos... from the beginning and there's no way I would have been involved in that, that's too much chaos. 

Hankins: You're telling me 

? As employess, we're very proud of the hospital and work very hard, we had no choice but to suck it up and deal with the board we had. We didn't get a choice other than voting. And some of us don't live in this county ... I don't know what to say

Reynolds: I think that board started out very chaotically, I think if you look at the last year of that board, the board did a very good job. And I really mean that, I believe that. 

C2: You believe the last board, not this one, you believe they did a really good job. 

Reynolds: I think towards the end of their 2 year term 

C2: I think they gave up.I had one neighbor to tell me he gave up

Reynolds: I don't think our business.. we're way off subject on this. It's a complex business, it's different than any other business Ask the board members, it takes a little while to understand how hospitals work and I think that board, most of the members of that board made a real effort and they succeeded and did a good job toward the end of their 2 year terms. I believe that. 

C3: We came from a small town in South Texas, Houston, and we went through this same thing there, with hospital district. Growing pains with first 3 groups, and now it's one of the top rated hospital districts. I've seen what the people have to go through, build foundation, by no means are there any experts, I've seen it work. 

C2: For a period of time, I've seen some underhanded deals. 

C3: Then you live in a different town than I do..

C2: no ma'am I was born and raised in this town and my family goes back to the founders. There's no place for that either.  Ron, you got something to say, say it out loud. 

Hankins: Tell them who you are: 

Griffin: I was asking who you were

C2: My name is Donna West Long. Does that help you?

Griffin: No, I still don't know who you are

C2: My mother was the first mayor of Somervell County. My great great grandfather was one of the founders of Glen Rose. And I take this all very personal 

Reynolds: We do too. We're professionals. We're very proud of the works. We think we work with integrity and honesty

C2: Let me ask you this then. It bothered me that someone had somthing to say but they didn't want to say it in Glen Rose so they posted it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Why is that, Ron? Wasn't there something posted in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Reynolds: Let me explain this. 

C2: I asked Ron

Reynolds: Well, I'll explain it to you. Because we have a weekly newspaper here and we have very specific deadlines that we have to meet. And we did not have the time to meet the deadlines by putting it in a weekly newspaper so we contacted our attorney and he said paper that has regular distribution in your county, Fort Worth Star-Telegram met that requirement and that's why we put the notices there. 

C2: How long before this meeting did you know you had to get it done? 

Reynolds: We could have done it. 

C2: YOu bet you could

Reynolds: We chose not to do it because we were trying to figure out if we were going to get any answer from Luminant 

C2: But the bottom line (continued under next video section) 

Part 2

C2: You just answered . Kind of deceiving the people of Somervell County and thats' not right. 

Reynolds: no the rule is general circulation

C2: you've got these elderly people that don't know how to use a phone much less (internet) 

Harrison: If we still had a newspaper here, I'd defend the paper but I cancelled my subscription

Griffin: There's only 400 subscriptions in Somervell County. 

C2: I'm not talking about whether you like to read the paper or not, it is our local paper, it's how a lot of elderly people in this town get their information. They don't get it from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. It's what the elderly people have done for years, you know that, Ron. 

? But if we'd have posted our link and then (changed) we'd have been beaten up on another blog because we did it wrong or were lying. 

Reynolds: To answer your question, we met the legal requirements 

C2: Yes, you did, and I've stated that you did, but you didn't do it (??) 

Harrison. Multiple meetings to set the budget, not like it's a one time deal 

Reynolds: point well taken, if I need to apologize I will. our intent was to put it in the local paper. 

C2: I'm not here to pick on you.

Hankins: You could have fooled me Donna

C2: Ron Hankins, you know me better and you knew my mother better than that. 

Hankins: But what you're doing is you're second guessing Ray and all the rest of us about what we're doing. You're Monday morning quarterbacking it, and I know exactly what's going on and everybody else knows exactly what's going on is, that we kept thinking and we're getting information not directly about what's going on with Luminant, CAD negotiating, will know value and then would know tax rate. 

Griffin: Cut it as close as we can. 

Hankins: Snuck up on us, Ray called attorney. If we didn't do that and put it in Glen rsoe paper, we're prevented from changing the tax rate and then we're really screwed. 

C2: Bottom line I answer to a lot of elderly people

C1: How old do you have to be to be elderly. 

Reynolds: Are you for?

C2: I still think there's some work to do. 

Harrison: That's where a lot of the hard feelings came from on the first board. I think the first board really thought that turning this was like turning a skateboard and you could do it in about 3 feet and it took us about 6 or 8, or a year to learn turning an organization this size around is like turning a battleship around, it's a long slow turn and honestly, I think there's been a pretty big turn here, now do I think someone driving down 67 can see it, I don't think so. .... if you look at the budget from where we were, there was a lot there, ..... 

Reynolds: We are significantly below salary and benefit wage 

C2: I've got friends that are nurses here that have given up weeks of not being paid

Griffin: That goes back to why we have to do this

Parsons: Theres lot of work to be done still

C2: How long is this going to hold us? 

Griffin: Comanche Peak. If EFH pays tomorrow all changes, otherwise, locked in for one year

C2:One of those things that goes back in town. Old news. This whole thing started back when the plant came, knew when trojan horse was coming, didn't think about the future, this is why we're in the mess we're in, let's nitpick every single time. 

Harrison: Thought it would be its lifespan

Hankins: A lot of people in this community, I want to address this, so much about what's going on that a lot of people still don't know, a lot of people didn't pay attention whenthe Tx Lege dropped us off a cliff, allowed the plant to recoup their (stranded?) cost. TXU did us right, voluntarily paid us the difference, when value dropped in half, had half the money. If we were short, TXU cut us a check, that couldn't be seen. Hospital so many people don't know they've been paying to support the hospital since 1990 since Methodist was going to shut this down, told county judge, let us tell you what you're going to do, had to modernize, lease it back to them. That ended.. bottom line, so many people that got angry about hospital district like brand new tax it wasn't, county had been funding it. People just didn't know it. Shifted it, lucky we still got it, came within 2 votes of losing. County didn't hvae the deep pockets we'd have lost the hospital then. A lot of people don't realize what they'd got. ... 

C2: I sit on the other end of the spectrum, PR man with TU, my husband is Walter Lee, Jerry Lee. He and I are in sync in this process of thinking. I have never wanted our hospital to do down, born in Barnards Mill, 3 days later in jail downtown, I want to make sure how long has this particular number will hold us? I can't see it holding us that long. 

Hankins: All depends on value of the plant.Maximum rate we can set. Unique becuase I don't know of any other county that has one property owner that is 80 percent of the value. We're at their mercy. They don't care about this hospital, county, only care about bottom line. We're sitting here and getting informtion that this could change and get settled at any minute... our timeline is we hvae to do this by Friday, if we don't hear anything else, we have to set it. 

Griffin. Have to set a number tomorrow. Ray waited till very last minute hoping that talks.. still hven't come together. 

C2: Being on the board, has anyone ever looked into the fact of how many cancer patients come out of Somervell County itself.51 percent and Luminant should have to look at this crap. They should have to pay to clean it up. Good place to start, medical situation

C1: We've discussed this for half an hour. Can we take a public vote

Hankins This is not for a vote.

C1: not the board, for the public. 

C2: I don't think we have a choice. We need to come in here and be upset, passionate about our county. 

Hankins: Ray could have already retired if he wanted to but he's sticking with it, we'd be up a creek, don't know what we would do, temporary basis.  We're meeting at 7 if you want to come back and look at numbers. 

Motion to adjourn. 

 


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