Friday, January 12 at noon is the next meeting of the Hood County Hospital District Board (HCHD). Members of the board want the public to be aware that discussions will begin at that meeting to add a hospital tax to Hood County property taxes. The tax will go on the ballot in November and the board hopes to make the public aware of the tax in the months leading up to the item being placed on the ballot.
Hospital taxes are taxes paid as a percentage per dollar valuation on property. In most counties residents pay this tax to cover the indigent care and care for those in jail. Hood County residents have not paid a hospital tax for some time, this is because the HCHD leased the hospital. December 31, 1996, HCHD made an agreement with Hospital Corporations of America. The agreement paid $15 mil. to HCHD to lease the hospital from 1996-2026 with an option to lease for an additional ten years for just a thousand dollars. The lease is now owned by Community Health Systems, Inc.
The last time Hood County residents paid a hospital tax was 1996. At that time the tax rate was 15 cents per $100 of valuation according to the Hood County Appraisal District, this was paid when the residents paid their property taxes annually.
The future tax will not be nearly as high. “Just one penny per hundred dollars of valuation will cover what we do now. Two pennies will cover us for a while at that rate. Providing the lowest tax possible while also providing proper care for the ones we are responsible for is the goal,” said Christy Massey, president of HCHD.
The problem is that the fund is running out of money. Hood County has grown significantly in the years since the lease was signed, with the indigent and jail care growing as well. Additionally, the fund is not making the amount interest what it once was. Health care for indigent and those in jail is required by state law.
The Hospital District Board consists of the county judge, all four commissioners and four at large members who must be residents of the county with one being a physician. The current board: Christy Massey – President, Monty Lewis - Vice President, David Kuban, D.O. – Secretary, Hood County Judge Ron Massingill – Treasurer, Commissioner Kevin Andrews, Commissioner Dave Eagle, Commissioner Nannette Samuelson, Terry Stamper, and Commissioner Jack Wilson.
Meeting of the Hood County Hospital District Board of Directors January, 12 at noon, Annex 1 Meeting Room, 200 Deputy Larry Miller Dr. For more information call 817-579-3200.