Dear Liberty Dispatch, I feel someone needs to speak to the fleecing of Dayton, Texas by the Liberty County Hospital District- as follows:
Taxpayers within the Liberty County Hospital District might get another chance at some relief if Dayton leadership follows through with their inquiry. Property owners within the city limits of Dayton and the school districts of Liberty, Devers, Hull-Daisetta, and Hardin (except for the two northernmost voting precincts of Hardin ISD) have watched as a Liberty lawyer and his buddies initiated and rammed through the establishment of a taxing district to fund the local privately-owned hospital the Liberty-Dayton Regional Medical Center (LDRMC) on North Travis in Liberty. Then Stratton in Houdini-like fashion established a hospital board that he seems to run with an iron fist.
All of the things that happen to create this boondoggle taxing entity have not been without objection. In fact, Stratton lost his first effort to get the district approved by voters. In what seemed like a “taxpayers be damned” move, Stratton and friends re-drew the district lines slightly different and squeaked by the voters in an extremely low turnout election. Since then there has been talk ever so often of circulating a petition, but no one has taken charge and done much... until the first of 2013. Now Stratton has received requests from Dayton Mayor Felix Skarpa and City Manager David Douglas for portions of that tax money to be given to the city of Dayton for the city’s use in seeking the creation of a Hermann-Memorial Convenience Clinic in Dayton.
Stratton’s refusal to release any funds to Dayton reminds me of President Ronald Reagan’s response to liberals - “There they go again”. We could give Stratton the benefit of the doubt and guess that he truly believed no private hospital would come forward if the current one did not get taxpayer assistance and give him an award for saving lives. Or we could consider the millions and millions of dollars property owners are having sucked out of their collective pockets because of Stratton and ask a few more questions – the last question and the most important one being “Is this the way taxpayers/voters want this handled or have we been railroaded? Do we want to fund a private company where our money seems to be going down into black hole with subpar care and outdated facilities indicating bigger bills and debt are in the not too distant future?
Stratton scheme has had his friend Bill Buchanan the minority owner of KSHN running interference for them since the start. Recent reports have just been more of the same. The radio reports have quibbled about whether Dayton’s taxes have been $500,000 plus or $600,000 plus and whether Dayton is funding half or thirty percent of Stratton’s cash kitty. Or when the Mayor Skarpa expressed dissatisfaction over the auditing of the whole thing, KSHN reported Skarpa had been sent the results of an audit.
With the allocation of millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money being questioned Mayor Skarpa and Dayton City Manager David Douglass, KSHN seems to be trying to make them sound like malcontents rather than validate the fact there is a large number of people who listen to their station and live in this area who do not like the hospital district or the new tax or the funding of a private hospital and there are other options.
Local media can report all they want that Stratton answered all of Dayton’s questions, but what they should do is ask questions of their own. Has a list of any and all owners of this hospital been made public? NO
When Stratton simply says he cannot turn over money to the City of Dayton because it is a government entity, is he telling them how they can set up so they can receive funding or does he have an interest in making sure the majority of money continues to go to his good friends at the liberty hospital? When the Dayton folks went public, Stratton pointed out that the district has budgeted $715,000.00 for indigent care and some Dayton businesses like the Marshall Family Practice and the Patel practice are eligible for a portion of it.. But in the absence of him offering advice as to how Dayton could do what the hospital in Liberty has done, it seems like this statement is meant to pacify and, it just maybe the inclusion of a couple of other businesses is simply to fulfill a legal requirement so Stratton can funnel his scheme to the Liberty hospital.
In another area of questioning, Stratton indicated that no member of the district board receives money for his or her service on the board or money as LDRMC board members. Knowing how lawyers split hairs with wording however, we cannot say how much money Stratton, or his lawyer friends have received for legal services however. Or have we just missed KSHN asking this question.
The old guard in this county is losing their grip, but they still are able to pull together stuff like this hospital tax thing. Saying over and over “it saves lives” or “you will be for it when you have an emergency” does not excuse the back to back elections to force this on this area. There were, and are, other options. But as long as this scheme exists we will never see the free market in action.
There they go again; taking our money so they can help us. And sooner or later, naming something after themselves for the ef fart. There the liberal media goes again, looking out for bigger government and “knowing better than us” so much they may actually believe their own slanted reporting is “justified”.
Anonymously submitted- Prior Liberty County Hospital District
LD Note: The opinions expressed in this op-ed do not necessarily express the opinions of this blogs contributors.