By Dave Rogers
For The Record

Orange County will host a pair of town hall meetings Thursday, Jan. 26 to explain and answer citizens’ questions about a proposed hospital district for the county.
Both meetings will be held at the Orange County Convention & Expo Center on FM 1442, near Interstate 10.
The first is at 2 p.m. A similar meeting will be held at 7 p.m.
County Judge Stephen Brint Carlton said the goal was “to talk about the hospital district and also take questions from members of the audience on any other matters of concern to our citizens.”
The recent closing of emergency services at Baptist Hospital Orange has brought to light a two-year effort by many civic leaders to find a new alternative to bring full hospital services back to the county.
Creating a county-wide hospital district was deemed the top priority.
“I can’t stress enough that a hospital district is not created by Orange County government. It’s not created by commissioners’ court. It’s not run by commissioners’ court.
“It will be a totally separate entity. There’s been a lot of confusion on that.
“The existing Baptist Hospital is not owned by Orange County. It was years ago, but it’s not any more. So we want to talk about those issues and what we’ve found out so far: give you an update on what we found out a hospital district is, what it could look like.
“But ultimately, that decision is up to all of you. It’s not up to us [on commissioners’ court], other than we have the same vote as you have whenever the time comes to vote on it.”
Johnny Trahan, Commissioner Precinct 1, summed it up.
“A lot of people are confused about what the issues are. So show up and find out they really are,” he said.
“Get down to the facts, not so much rumors.”