|Trinity Standard - Local News
Stories Added - September 2010
Copyright 2010 - Polk County Publishing Company
TMHD adopts tax cut based on effective rate
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY – Completing a promise made earlier this year, a 10 percent cut in tax revenue was formally approved by the Trinity Memorial Hospital District’s board. During their meeting Monday, Sept. 20,, the TMHD board adopted a tax rate of 15.37 cents per $100 in assessed value. This is down from last year’s rate of 18.32 cents. The district’s financial advisor Tom Ramey of Trinity presented the tax rate plan to the board and recommended the 15.37-cent rate. He noted that while the board had previously agreed to cut the rate by 10 percent, they had never specified whether the reduction was to be based on last year’s actual rate or the current “effective rate.” He explained that the effective rate – which is 17.08 cents per $100 in value – is basically the rate the district would need to set in order to collect the same tax income as last year. “As property values go up, the effective rate comes down,” he explained. The accountant said a 10 percent cut in last year’s actual rate would translate to a new rate of 16.48 cents. Ramey also noted that when the board adopted their current budget in June, it was based on a 10 percent cut in actual income. “Cutting the effective rate by 10 percent matches what we did with the budget so that is what I am recommending,” he said. The board agreed and approved the lower 15.37-cent figure, which will be used when tax statements are sent out later this year. Expansion work During the meeting, Board Member Jim Rippey presented a report regarding expansion of the East Texas Medical Center-Trinity facilities. Rippey noted that a set of detailed construction drawings have been received and are available for inspection by the board. Under the current plan, construction is now scheduled for completion in the Fall of 2011. Included in the list of work are a new 15-room patient wing, space for a surgical suite, a new kitchen and dining area and a new entry and waiting area. ETMC-Trinity Administrator Warren Robicheaux noted that under the plan, all sections of the expansion plan will be under construction almost simultaneously. “Some parts may be started a few weeks before others, but essentially, they will all be underway at the same time,” he said. District rules to be updated In other business, the board was provided information to review regarding a move by the Texas Legislative Council to “clean up and update” all of the rules governing hospital districts throughout the state. Board President Larry King noted that every Texas hospital district was established by separate legislation and that each bill, some dating back to the 1930s, have slightly different rules regarding things like election dates and meeting quorums. Some of these rules now conflict with other legislation. “They are trying to get all of these rules up to 2010 standards,” King said. The TMHD was established by the state legislature in an act passed in 1981. “When they are done, all of the hospital districts will have uniform rules under which they operate,” King noted. He asked the board members to review the rules changes being proposed and said that any comments or questions will need to be submitted to the council before Dec. 31. The council plans to submit a bill for the Texas Legislature to consider when it convenes in January. Other business In other action, the board: • Reviewed a brochure being put together by ETMC’s corporate office in Tyler which describes the local hospital and its services. The board and ETMC plan to have the brochures ready this week so they can be distributed starting at the Trinity Community Fair on Friday and Saturday. Another brochure detailing information about the hospital district, including its history and the duties of the board of directors, is planned for distribution later this year. • Learned from Robicheaux that the hospital has been interviewing candidates for a physician’s assistant post at the clinic. In addition, the hospital administrator reported that they are close to signing on another family practice physician, who could relocate to Trinity in about a year. • Briefly discussed plans to expand the clinic. It was noted that once the new patient wing is completed, some of the existing rooms in the hospital could be converted into use by the clinic. The new clinic was completed last year and is attached to the hospital building, which board members noted would make it fairly easy to shift unneeded patient rooms into additional clinic space.