Letter to the editor: VP of Hospital district lends his support to bond referendum, tax increase

Paul Henry

As a native and longtime resident of Liberty County, I have devoted much of my personal and professional life to supporting the assets that make this my home while seeking ways to improve our collective community.

While proud of my tenure as a Liberty City Council member and Mayor, I consider one of the signature accomplishments of my public service is being a member of the board for the Liberty County Hospital District No. 1.

More than 10 years ago, the district was formed and with voter support we were able to purchase an existing but closed hospital. Although the facility was in a state of disrepair from the previous ownership, the district began a funding program to pay the bills, make necessary repairs, and offer steady and incremental improvements in the medical services provided. Thanks to the guidance of respected healthcare consultants, we began qualifying for state and federal programs that allowed us to put additional capital into Liberty Dayton Regional Medical Center.

Although it has served us well during the past decade, most of you know that our 70-year-old facility has significant challenges with basic infrastructure and limited, if any, options for sustainable repairs and renovations. The district and our consultants believe the proposed plan for a new hospital in the central part of the county and a new extended hours clinic in Dayton is the best approach to provide better medical services for all our residents and address the future growth that we know is coming.

We were extremely fortunate to receive a donation of a 35-acre tract as a location for the new hospital and future expansion, so there are no land acquisition costs for the district and our taxpayers. The property is located at the intersection of TX Hwy 146 and FM 1011, offering greater accessibility, visibility and opportunities for future growth compared to the current hospital. No other location in the district offers a comparably-sized parcel of property for construction of this new facility.

The new hospital will include:

  • A total of 16 beds which include 10 private and semi-private inpatient beds, 3 private observation beds and 3 rooms for infusion therapy that can be converted into beds if needed.
  • Emergency Services with eight exam rooms and one trauma room
  • Two surgical suites for general and ambulatory needs (one for future use)
  • An inpatient pharmacy and lab
  • A clinic with eight exam rooms
  • Rehab services with a gym and 3 exam rooms
  • Infusion Therapy
  • A full range of imaging services including CT, ultrasound, X-ray and MRI.
  • A helistop
  • A mobile technology port

The hospital site also allows room for future expansion of patient care units, emergency services, the clinic, rehabilitation services, other specialty services and professional offices.

The new Dayton clinic would be a 4,700-square-foot facility offering medical exams, imaging, lab testing and similar diagnostic services with extended hours throughout the week as well as on weekends. With a convenient location just north of downtown, this clinic will offer a much-needed alternative for medical care in the Dayton area.

The district is in a solid financial position to move forward with these plans. As a result, the two propositions on the November 2 ballot would authorize an additional nine cents per $100 property tax valuation (equal to $90 annually for a $100,000 property), and the resulting sale of $43 million in bonds to fund both projects. I should point out that this rate would remain one of the lowest for hospital districts in our state.

These facilities can become a reality and with your support we can enjoy an expanded, higher level of healthcare services at two highly visible and convenient locations. The implications for taxpayers are modest, but the benefits are great.

I ask for your careful consideration of this proposal, and encourage your support of Propositions A and B on the November 2 general election ballot. Working together, we can assure that our communities in Liberty County can access quality healthcare close to home.

Paul Henry

Vice President

Liberty County Hospital District No. 1

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Think about this as you vote for the new hospital district tax. This tax has a small exemption and the new tax rate will be applied to most of your appraised value regardless of age.

    Increased appraisals and increased tax rates do not make homeownership easy especially for young people who do not get the exemptions/freezes that people over 65 get. (Yes I am over 65.)

    I have been looking at Liberty CAD property information. It is all public. The appraisals in Dayton for land seem to be running higher in Dayton than Liberty. This is why the hospital district needs our property in their district. (It is worth noting that some of the property I looked at in Liberty did not increase from 2020 to 2021. How can that be the case?) I think you can guess at whose properties I was looking at.

    My residence has not increased in size and it sits on the same amount of land the house/pool was built on. My appraised value has gone up $169,000 from 2011 to 2021 and does not count the previous increases in appraisals from 2003 to 2010.

    Let this sink in as you vote.

  2. You can bet some of the local outstanding families of Liberty have something to gain from this. Taxpayers have paid for streets that go no where.

  3. Question; So why not let a private company come in and build a hospital and run it like a normal business?

    Answer; Liberty County has many indigents AND people who just won’t pay their bills. So a private company will not build here to take a loss.

    And in most cases those same people are not paying their fair share of taxes. So I am expected to pay more taxes to fund all these short comings? I would like a nice hospital but I don’t need another $1000 a year in taxes.

    AND….. I live in Liberty, why build a hospital here when Dayton is busting at the seams?

    VOTE NO

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