Time to ask, time to vote

Published 2:00 am Saturday, November 25, 2017

By Bobby Tingle

Now is your chance to ask questions.

Now is the time to make your feelings known.

Orange County residents will have the opportunity to ask questions in one of two   Town Hall meetings to be held November 30 and December 5 at Cypress Center of Lamar State College – Orange.

According to a report published in the Saturday, November 18 edition of The Orange Leader, area residents will be given an opportunity to ask questions at these events.

Three presentations are scheduled, one arguing for, another arguing against and one providing basic information regarding the ballot proposal for establishment of a hospital district in Orange County. Early voting is scheduled to begin December 4.

What questions do you have?

Let me suggest a few.

Why do we need a hospital district? Who will benefit if a hospital district is established? What responsibility and authority will the hospital district be given? Where will a hospital be located? When will my taxes go up? Why do I have to pay more taxes, aren’t I taxed enough already? What if the hospital district fails just like the last hospital? How will I benefit if a hospital district is established? Why would I want a hospital in Orange County when there are good hospitals nearby?

Orange County Judge Stephen Brint Carlton, it appears from the report, will preside over the meetings. But who else will attend?

Each and every Orange County Commissioner should be present and able to answer, substantively, any of the questions presented.

Why should each of the commissioners be present?

Because, if passed, each will appoint a member of the initial board charged with overseeing the hospital district. The five appointed board members determine the course the hospital district will take in the beginning. The initial board will eventually be replaced by elected board members, but by then the district will be on the trajectory determined by those appointed

As taxpayers, we should have the opportunity to ask several questions about the appointees.

Who will you appoint? Why does your appointee want to serve on this board? What will your appointee gain from a seat on this board?

Orange County needs a hospital. There is no doubt about it.

I am not in favor of adding taxing entities. A hospital district is a taxing entity.

However, research reveals a harsh reality. Hospitals have been failing throughout Texas for several decades. Baptist Hospital of Orange is just one of the many.

The Texas State Legislature established hospital districts in response to the declining numbers of hospitals throughout the state.

Two things I believe are certain are Orange County needs a hospital and taxpayers will have to fund it at some level.

If enough voters in Orange County agree, then we will move forward to do so some time after December 19.

Because of this possibility, I suggest you attend one or both of the town hall meetings. Come prepared to ask hard questions. You deserve to know what your county commissioners are thinking.

Look them in the eye when you ask your questions and expect honest answers.


Bobby Tingle is publisher of The Orange Leader. You can reach him at bobby.tingle@orangeleader.com.