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Group Hopes to Dissolve Hospital District in Graham

Some residents in the City of Graham are starting a movement to dissolve the new hospital district because they say its tax rate is too high and is causing their property taxes to climb.
Some residents in the City of Graham are starting a movement to dissolve the new hospital district because they say its tax rate is too high and is causing their property taxes to climb.

The hospital district was approved by voters in June and if this group gets enough momentum to get rid of the district, the hospital board says it could put the future of the city's only medical center in danger.

Carl Buschmann, a long time Graham resident says the new hospital district has led to his taxes to increase by a third of what they use to be.

Buschmann says the district is not benefiting the community.

According to the Graham Hospital District President Neal Blanton, the district's residents are paying 36.5 cents per $100 valuation but Buschmann says the hospital can operate without it.

"We feel like our money is not being put to good use," Buschmann exclaims. "We also feel that too many people in Young County have been hurt materially by this tax."

Buschmann says the group, Young County Citizens For Responsible Taxation, is working on starting a petition to put the issue back on the ballot  in hopes of a different result from last summer.

It is an effort Blanton says would put the medical center in jeopardy.

"We didn't think that the hospital could survive without a hospital district and without the ability to tax for hospital funds," Blanton says.

In addition, Blanton says the group would have to collect signatures from 15% of the registered voters in the district or more than 1200 voters.

He says after they are verified, the issue would go before the voters.

Blanton says, "They just don't want to pay more taxes and unfortunately in this day and time, if we want to have a vibrant community, then we need to have a hospital."

Members of Young County Citizens For Responsible Taxation hope to start collecting signatures on March 1.

They also have a meeting set up on Feb. 13 to appoint officers of the group.
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