Forming a Hospital District
By Dawn Burleigh
The Orange Leader
As Baptist Hospital Orange closed it’s doors to the emergency room at midnight on Tuesday, Jan. 12, entities throughout the county are discussing the formation of a Hospital District.
The City of Pinehurst was the first to include approving of a resolution supporting the formation of the Orange County Hospital District on their agenda. The council meeting was held at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The council meeting was held at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The City of Vidor will vote on a resolution 7 p.m. at Vidor City Hall located at 1395 North Main Street in Vidor.
The resolution, reads in part, “since the closing of departments at Baptist Hospital – Orange, which includes OB/GYN in 2015, In-patient Care in 2016, and the Emergency Room in January 2017, it has become necessary and urgent for Orange County leaders to consider the formation of an Orange County Hospital District (District) to meet the healthcare needs of its citizens, local businesses and local industries.”
The hospital was once the third largest employer in the county and is essential to recruiting new business to the area, according to Orange County Economic Development Director Jessica Hill.
“This will have an impact on the growth of the community,” Hill said.
The district would be responsible for the full responsibility for assumes full responsibility for operating hospital facilities and for furnishing medical and hospital care for the district’s needy inhabitants; assumes any outstanding indebtedness incurred by a county, municipality, or other governmental entity in which all or part of the district is located in providing hospital care for residents of the territory of the district before the district’s creation; and may operate or provide for the operation of a mobile emergency medical service.
If part of a county, municipality, or other governmental entity is included in a district and part is not included in the district, the amount of indebtedness the district assumes under Subsection (a)(2) is that portion of the total outstanding indebtedness of the county, municipality, or other entity for hospital care for all residents of the county, municipality, or other entity that the value of taxable property in the district bears to the total value of taxable property in the county, municipality, or other entity according to the last preceding approved assessment rolls of the county, municipality, or other entity before the district is confirmed, according to Sec. 286.073.
While the formation of said district will ultimately be decided by the Orange County voters, so is the funding for the district.
Sec. 286.161. TAX AUTHORIZED. (a) A majority of voters in a district or proposed district may, at the creation election under Subchapter B or in conjunction with any other district election, authorize the district to impose a property tax.
(b) The board annually may impose property taxes in an amount not to exceed the limit approved by the voters at the election authorizing the levy of taxes.
(c) The tax rate for all purposes may not exceed 75 cents on each $100 valuation of all taxable property in the district.
(d) The taxes may be used to pay:
(1) the indebtedness issued or assumed by the district; and
(2) the maintenance and operating expenses of the district.
(e) The district may not impose taxes to pay the principal of or interest on revenue bonds issued under this chapter.
Sec. 286.174. TAX RATE; CHANGE IN RATE. (a) A district may impose the tax in increments of one-eighth of one percent, with a minimum rate of one-eighth of one percent and a maximum rate of two percent.
(b) Subject to Section 286.172, a district may increase the rate of the tax to a maximum of two percent or decrease the rate of the tax to a minimum of one-eighth of one percent if the change is approved by a majority of the voters of the district at an election called for that purpose.