The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

February 5, 2013

Turn off the money tap

Herald-Banner Staff

GREENVILLE — To the editor:

Re Our progressive county commissioner

The Herald-Banner editorial Wednesday quoting County  Commissioner Atkins’ views on implementing the unit systems to replace the present road and bridge operations with an engineer to oversee the entire county road and bridge operations, this system is already in place in 70-plus counties in Texas and is saving taxpayers from waste and political favors to the electorate for their vote. We have a refreshing progressive voice with new ideas to implement better county government operations.

Eric Evans is our new Precinct 1 commissioner. He has the potential to be an excellent commissioner. I hope Mr. Evans shares Mr. Atkins’ views on the unit system. If our commissioners do not implement the unit system, we, the voters must do it for them in a voter referendum. The good ole boy system of kicking the can down the road is not acceptable. In the past 16 years, the only time we saw county equipment was during an election year. Our former commissioner resurfaced his road before going out of office.

Our state legislators need to pass a law prohibiting a commissioner candidate running for office if he lives on a county road. We have four spreads of construction equipment, which is operational about 40 percent of the work week.

Atkins’ view on our county hospital district tax is controversial. My personal opinion is our hospital has progressed and improved in the last few years; however, it is not what it needs to be to adequately serve the county residents, whose taxes support its operations.

Our hospital board should be composed of a majority of practicing physicians and the remainder being one representative each from surgery, E.R., nursing, lab, radiology, maintenance and housekeeping. We have more important priorities than buying a used mobile X-ray unit for curb service mammograms. All of us would be delighted to see Baylor, Presyby, Methodist, HCA or Columbia’s name on our hospital; but it probably will not happen. The hospital district probably has $45 to $50 million in bonded indebtedness.

The Greenville area is lucky to have good primary care doctors and a few excellent specialty physicians, such as  Jack Thomas, Khatils and Sills.

When the hospital administration recognizes their great employees provide the quality, professional and medical care we expect and compensate them with competitive salaries and benefits, only then will we have the excellent care we deserve. Bureacrats take care of their needs as first priority. This is the norm for all government entities. I oppose Atkins’ proposal to discontinue the $10 million yearly tax to the hospital district and use it for county road upgrades. We move into rural areas to enjoy country living and serene surroundings. We should expect the mail, school bus, sheriff and fire suppression vehicles to reach us. We don’t require concrete curbs and guttering roadways. Our hospital district may have poor management; however, it is probably more efficient than our county government in delivering services. We will continue to see both entities returning to the well until the taxpayers turn off the tap. Both entities exhibit poor fiscal responsibility.

George Lyons