HMHD board had no authority

Hunt County Chief Tax Appraiser Brent South has notified the board of the Hunt Memorial Hospital District that it did not have the authority late last month to enact a senior citizen property tax freeze.

The board of the Hunt Memorial Hospital District may have had the best of intentions last month when it approved a freeze on the district’s property taxes for residents aged 65 and over.

The board approved the measure under old business on the agenda during the July 26 regular session.

But Hunt County Chief Tax Appraiser Brent South contacted the hospital administration on July 28 and advised that the board did not have the power to do that.

South said the Texas Legislature granted the authority for taxing entities such as cities, counties and junior college districts to enact a property tax freeze for senior citizens.

“Greenville has enacted one and Hunt County placed a similar measure on the November ballot,” South said. “But there is no law granting the power to allow a hospital district to authorize a freeze.”

The hospital board is expected to reconsider the issue when it convenes for its next session later this month.

South said the board still has some options it can consider.

“They can maybe set a dollar amount exemption,” he said. “They just can’t issue a blanket freeze.”

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