Dave Rogers

For The Record

Speakers for and against the Orange County Hospital District will be featured, along with Q&A, at two informational town hall meetings set for Nov. 30 and Dec. 5.

Lamar State College-Orange will host the two-hour sessions at its new Cypress Center, 209 Green St., from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. each evening.

“The whole reason for this town hall is because there were a few concerns,” Kelli Patin, one of the event organizers, said. “We knew that there was a lot of information out about the hospital district, but I wasn’t sure it was accurate info.

“This is important stuff. Orange County needs to know more of it.”

A local group called Care for Orange County led the petition drive that resulted in the Dec. 19 county-wide election to establish a hospital district.

A vote for the district would create a new taxing entity that could levy taxes up to 18 cents per $100 valuation.

The creation of a hospital district would make a county hospital eligible for federal funds and is be expected to bring investors to build a hospital.

Orange is the largest city and county in Texas not to have a hospital.

The town halls will feature an explanation of the ballot options by County Judge Stephen Brint Carlton and 10 minutes each of arguments for and against by advocates Ross Smith (for) and David Covey (against).

A question-and-answer session for audience members will follow.

Early voting for the election begins Dec. 4 and runs through Dec. 15. The town halls are being sponsored by Lamar State College-Orange and KOGT.

“We hope the public shows up, not just from Orange, but Bridge City and Vidor, and listen with an open mind,” Patin said.

“They can ask any questions they might have in regards to the hospital vote. We’re hoping that the county does take an interest in this, because it affects the whole county. This is important for the whole county.”