JPS Health Network’s board chair Dorothy DeBose officially addressed the new tax rate during a joint meeting with the finance, planning and investment committee on Thursday.
DeBose called the meeting to order and referred to the new tax rate as a “win-win for the taxpayers.”
“We will lean into this and continue to keep our focus on our mission in providing quality health care to the communities that we serve,” she said. “I am hopeful that we will not get distracted by all of the noise that has ensured following last week’s court meeting. I hope that we will remain focused on the strategic priorities and support staff in continuing to do good work that the hospital district has always done for the residents of Tarrant County.”
Who sits on JPS’ Board of Managers?
The 11-member board governs Tarrant County’s publicly funded hospital. Members hire and, if necessary, fire the CEO, and approve the hospital’s budget, among other duties. They serve without pay and are appointed by the Tarrant County Commissioners.
- Dorothy DeBose – chair
- Roger Fisher – vice chair
- Amanda Arizola – secretary
- Tim Davis
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Jr.
- Leonard Firestone
- Margaret Holland
- D.T. Nguyen
- Trent Petty
- Blake Woodard
- Zim Zimmerman
The hospital district will lower its tax rate for the first time in several years, after county commissioners unanimously overrode the hospital’s board plan to keep the tax rate at $0.224 per $100 of assessed value.
The new tax rate is set at $0.1945 per $100 of assessed value. Fort Worth’s average homeowner would pay $399.48 in taxes to the county, with the county’s 10% homestead exemption. Without the homestead exemption applied, that resident’s bill would jump to $443.
The commissioners court will hear a budget presentation from JPS based on the new tax rate direction and take another vote before final approval, Commissioner Roy Brooks previously told the Fort Worth Report.
The final vote will likely take place before the hospital’s fiscal year ends on Sept. 30, Sharon Clark, executive VP and chief financial officer at JPS, said.
During the Aug. 24 meeting, Clark presented updates on the hospital district’s budget — which only saw changes to the ad valorem tax revenue.
The court’s new tax rate is projected to bring about $543.4 million tax revenue for JPS, a decrease of $26 million in tax revenue from the 2023 fiscal year, Clark said.
“This year will not have an enormous impact, but JPS will have to make a few changes moving forward,” Clark said. “If the court doesn’t lower the tax moving forward, I think our master facility plan will be good.”
JPS’ master facilities plan is supported by a $800 million bond package voters approved in 2018. The plan detailed a new psychiatric emergency center, hospital on the main campus and four new clinics that would cost $1.2 billion. Hospital leaders now estimate that the bond projects will total over $1.5 billion because of cost increases, inflation and construction delays.
JPS has since scrapped the four clinics, known as medical homes, and will focus on building one at the intersection of Granbury Road and Mesa Springs Drive in Fort Worth, according to published news reports.
Board member Trent Petty acknowledged that voters expected to fund four medical homes and a psychiatric hospital, but the hospital district is taking into account current recommendations from JPS CEO Dr. Karen Duncan and the Blue Ribbon Committee.
“JPS has had to alter our planning relative to our resources to be able to put these programs in place,” Petty said at the joint meeting. “This board has steadfastly supported and stayed behind Dr. Duncan’s recommendations relative to that effort…There is obviously a reckoning that has to take place and that reckoning takes place right here.”
What is the Blue Ribbon Committee?
Established by the Commissioners Court, the 12-member committee reviews current and future needs of the JPS Health Network. The committee also evaluates how JPS can best serve its stakeholders over the next 30 years, according to Tarrant County.
No other board, committee or hospital member commented on the medical homes.
In August, the hospital district saw “interesting” progress on a few of its facilities within the master plan, Adam Lane, chief facilities management officer for JPS, told the board.
Construction on the slab connector has been completed for the 71,150-square-foot psychiatric emergency center. In September, the hospital district will begin work on the bulk of the psychiatric center, Lane said. The project is budgeted at over $79 million and is slated for completion in 2025.
As for Medical Home Southwest, construction on pier caps, grade beams and underground utility trenching started this month. Plans to get out of the ground will begin in September, Lane said. With a budget of over $37 million, the clinic is slated for completion in 2024.
“September is a busy month for us, a lot is coming,” Lane said.
JPS Health Network’s board of managers will hold its next monthly meeting 1 p.m. Sept. 14 at John Peter Smith Hospital’s OPC Auditorium, 1500 S. Main St.
The finance, planning and investment committee will hold its next monthly meeting at 10 a.m. Sept. 28.
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