A decisive majority of Moore County citizens turned down the hospital district's effort to finance an upgrade of their healthcare infrastructure in the County Seat Dumas. According to Dumas resident Jordan Miller, this marks the second time that voters kill the hospital district's ambitious plans for expansion.
The Hospital Board in Dumas wanted a new hospital to replace the aging facility that they say has not evolved with trends in medicine. They wanted to renovate the hospital fit a more modern outpatient care model, and also have an assisted living facility. The board said that while the hospital is profitable, because of its outdated design, it is a legal liability and is in dire need of a great deal of maintenance. The Mayor of Dumas said that while he understands concerns over taxes, he believes that healthcare is an important issue.
??The need to upgrade the healthcare system will always be important, so I think it will come up in the future, but to what extent, I don't know,?? said Pat Sims, the Mayor of Dumas.
The hospital board acknowledges, while they thought the community would rally behind them, that the voters have spoken, and that they will pursue other methods of financing if available.
??We're just going to have to great creative a find a different way to go,?? said Tom Ferguson, a member of the hospital board. ??I believe the public told us in a strong way that they do not want more taxes at this time.??
Opponents like Jordan Miller, a local CPA, said that the community rejected this measure because it would double taxes for the next thirty years. Given the uncertainty of change coming to healthcare because of Obamacare, he believes that the hospital would not have been a profitable venture, with taxpayers on the hook for the losses for decades to come. Mr. Miller said that most people go to Amarillo for medical care anyway.
??Part of the proposal was to tear down part of the old hospital and build an assisted living facility,?? said Jordan Miller, a concerned citizen and a former school board member. ??If that were commercially viable some builder from Amarillo, Lubbock, or Dallas would have been here and put in an assisted living.??
The Moore County Hospital in a statement to Pronews 7 said that they are disappointed with the results because they believe that the proposed bond was the best option for resolving the infrastructure issues that exist with their current facility. Moving forward, what remains clear is that the county will have to find a new avenue for financing this project.