In the face of public opposition and an inability to sufficiently answer questions during town hall meetings, the Tarrant County Commissioner’s Court indicated they would not be placing the JPS hospital network’s $809 million bond on November’s ballot.
The debt deal would have financed a new patient tower, psychiatric hospital, and renovations to existing facilities.
At a meeting on Tuesday, the court was presented with more than 650 printed letters from local taxpayers who opposed voting on the measure this year.
As a result, G.K. Maenius, the court’s lead administrator, stated he would “probably recommend” a delay of the election at next week’s court meeting, with JPS officials present. Maenius cited public skepticism and unaddressed needs as reasons for his recommendation.
Maenius also mentioned “new developments” regarding a partnership with local medical schools, although they aren’t “new.” Those developments occurred prior to JPS making their ballot recommendation back in May.
Criticism of the proposal has centered around three main issues—faulty financial forecasts, empty promises of “no property tax increase,” and an insider process that excluded public participation until all decisions were effectively made. Despite the best efforts of JPS’s “experts,” public scrutiny by engaged citizens ultimately prevailed.
Neither JPS nor the court has publicly addressed questions regarding phony financial forecasts made by JPS’s financial consultants (FRG), on which the entire project is based. The projections relied upon two major assumptions.
The first was that JPS would layoff employees, even though hospital officials admitted they aren’t making cuts. The second is a wholly unexplained “operational efficiency” cost reduction totaling at least $258 million.
Tarrant County residents deserve the truth from county officials before being asked to vote on any debt proposal.
Politicians aren’t elected to represent government to the people, but rather to represent the people in their government.