Alliance Bank in Sulphur Springs

Hospital District Board To Consider Tax Rate And Budget At 6 p.m. Meeting Sept. 20, 2022

Hopkins County Hospital District Board of Directors are scheduled to meet at tonight to review and consider approving the budget, capital items for and set a tax rate for the fiscal year 2022-2023 which will end on Sept. 30, 2023.

Proposed Tax Rate

During the regular Aug. 25, 2022, HCHD Board meeting the directors recommended a tax rate for the that is roughly 2.5 cents less than the current tax rate. The hospital district’s tax rate had remained 25 cents for several years until recently, when the rate decreased to 22-cents per $100 property valuation.

Based on the formula established by the state for taxing entities, the most the tax rate can be without having to have voter approval would be $0.209947. The tax rate can be lower than the no new revenue tax rate, but not higher. Hospital District CEO/EMS Director Brent Smith said the tax rate could be figured at 19 cents, if the board prefer that.

HCHD logo

Board Chair Kerry Law at the August meeting said at this juncture he’d prefer to utilize the $0.192461 no-new-revenue tax rate (the amount needed to raise exactly the same from taxes in the coming year as the current tax year). Board member Joe Bob Burgin said he feels the rate doesn’t need to exceed that.

At the NNR tax rate, the district anticipate $5.693 million in levied in tax revenues for the coming tax year, with $3 million in new certified values added to the tax rolls.

The board will vote on a proposed tax rate and and consider a budget during September meetings. The rate that will be advertised as the proposed tax rate will be the no new revenue rate of $0.192461, which is $5.7 cents less than in past years.

Smith said the key things driving the HCHD budget are staffing as well as cost of fuel, repairs and maintenance, which have all increased this year. The district in the 2022-2023 tax year too should receive funding from rollback taxes for the solar project just of State Highway 11 west in northwestern Hopkins County. For such projects, taxes are rollback three years and paid at the land value rate in the reinvestment zone.

Budget Planning

The hospital district board will be asked to consider capital items and the budget for FY 2022-2023 at the 6 p.m. meeting Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022.

HCHD CEO and Hopkins County EMS Director Brent Smith at the August meeting reported that capital improvements in the new budget to be presented for approval by HCHD Board will include the ambulance the board previously approved. However, he’s been told the wait time to get new emergency vehicles has again lengthened due to supply and demand issues. When the order bank for such items opens on Oct. 19, he’d like to have the ability to order two chassis for ambulances. He anticipated asking for approval to order a second chassis at the Sept. 20 meeting — provided he can get both orders in before the order window closes.

Hopkins County EMS ambulances

Additional items anticipated to be included in the budget will be expenses for routine replacements for stretchers and other supplies, including repeaters to upgrade radio communications equipment for better communications between communications operators and paramedics. Officials are hoping for a grant which could help with that, but as of Aug. 25 could not factor that in one way or the other.

Smith said he anticipates presenting for consideration a request to add two additional personnel to the FY 2022-23 budget to allow the communications department to better meet needs in the current call volume and devote the time required due to the acuity of each call.

Smith said two dispatchers are scheduled daily, one each to work a 12 hour shift, with Heather Smith, a paramedic who also assists as an administrative assistant, providing relief to the communications operator on-duty when needed so the individual can take a restroom or small break. A lot of times, she ends up in the communications center as a second dispatcher due to the high call volume. The communications center answers more than 12,000 requests per year. The center manages calls for the four counties Hopkins County EMS currently serves, manages transfers, and communicates with emergency room staff to ensure beds are available for patients, especially during high hospital census times when some facilities in neighboring counties and areas are placed on divert.

The EMS director proposed two additional communications operators who would work a split shift, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., giving some overlap during high volume or peak hours for EMS services. This would allow the communications operators to stay on the line longer and manage calls better, at a cost of $120,000 in additional salaries and benefits expended in the communications budget. EMS dispatchers in addition to their relationships with hospitals and staff, can be very critical in providing prearrival instructions to 911 callers. He said he’s aware of at least three occasions in which dispatchers helped those on scene resuscitate the patient before EMS arrived.

Also On The Agenda

Also on the agenda of the HCHD Board of Directors meeting which is slated to begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, in CHRISTUS Mother Frances Medical Office Building Conference Room, 113, Airport Road, is discussion and possible action on and agreement with Benevolent doing business as Colonial Nursing and Rehab, a HCHD operational and EMS update, review and approval of August 2022 financial statements and the minutes from the Aug. 25 meeting. CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital-Sulphur Springs President/CEO Paul Harvey is slated to give an update on CHRISTUS ministries.

The Hospital District too is scheduled to hold an executive session at the end of the regular meeting to discuss real estate and property matters and conduct a personnel salary review. Any decisions regarding these matters would be made once the HCHD Board reconvenes in open session.

Author: KSST Contributor

Share This Post On