Eight citizens showed up at noon Thursday, Aug. 15, for the Graham Hospital District's public hearing on the proposed tax rate.

The seven people who addressed the five board members at the hearing brought up concerns about how the tax rate was determined, how much revenue would be raised based on current property values, how the hospital budgets and spends money and how the tax will affect homeowners.

Sidney Chestnut, a local homeowner and small-business owner, said she has put her house up for sale because she cannot afford to pay the taxes.

“I have worked my whole life, adult life, paid all my bills, never had bad credit, try not to, and I have to sell my house because of taxes. Now, that is wrong. That is plumb wrong,” she said. “Y'all need to get another idea on what to do. There's got to be a different idea that you can come up with than to tax people this high.”

The GHD board has presented a proposal to adopt an ad valorem tax rate for the year 2013 of 37.5 cents ($.375) on each $100 valuation of taxable property located within the Graham Hospital District.
That means that a home with an appraised value of $100,000 will owe $375 in hospital district taxes for 2013.

Thomas Olszewski said he and his wife are on a fixed income and also have put their home up for sale.
“There is no provision in this taxing for people on a fixed income,” he said.

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Board member Neal Blanton and Graham Regional Medical Center Administrator Steve Hartgraves addressed many of the questions and explained how hospital billing, budgeting and other issues are handled.

For more about the hearing, see the Aug. 18 issue of The Graham Leader.