On Thursday night at 7 p.m. at the Graham Senior Citizen Center, Over 200 people attended a meeting called by an exploratory committee to repeal the Graham hospital's taxing district.

It was not possible to decipher how many were for the repeal and how many were against it, but both sides were well represented, including city council members, hospital board members and staff, and concerned citizens.

At the start of the meeting, unofficial leader of the committee to repeal the GRMC taxing district, Carl Buschmann, stood in the middle of the filled room and addressed the crowd. Buschmann named the group Young County Citizens for Responsible Taxation, and during his initial 15 minute address to the crowd, he outlined the opposition group's six point mission statement:

1. We seek to dissolve the Graham Hospital District.
2. We seek, therefore, to repeal the tax of the Graham Hospital District.
3. Property taxes in Young County are at an all time high, and we seek to systematically lower those taxes by all means available.
4. We believe that the Graham Regional Medical Center administration and board of directors did not exhaust all possible financial remedies before seeking taxation.
5. We believe that any taxation should be sought ONLY as the last resort immediately before the doors are closed forever.
6. We endorse a hospital in Graham, Texas, but we expect responsible and frugal management thereof.

“We are here tonight to form a committee,” Buschmann said. “If there's enough of us who are against this tax, and we take up a petition, and we get about 1,220 signatures to repeal this tax and send it to the hospital board, then they have to act on it.”

Toward the end of his address, Buschmann said that the committee, which still needed five members to total seven, so far consisted of himself and Lonny Hawkins. He told attendees that the next meeting of the opposition group would be held Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Graham Senior Citizen Center, at which point a committee chair would be elected and the petition campaign could begin.

Following Buschmann's address, Lonny Hawkins and Kent Pettus both addressed the crowd before the meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m.

Read the entire story in the weekend edition of the Graham Leader.