CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - Voters have elected not to remove the property tax cap that would have benefited the Houston County Hospital Health District.
Seven days ago, the health district said there were early negotiations underway to re-open the Crockett Hospital.
During the summer, the hospital shut its doors, leaving the area without a hospital, but now they continue looking to partner with an Austin-based healthcare group.
Hospital district president Deborah Blackwell said while the news is disappointing, it is simply a bump in the road.
"I don't think that this vote was against the hospital. I think this vote against it was some lack of knowledge what the vote really was and just not wanting to increase taxes," Blackwell said.
Almost 24 hours ago, voters decided during elections to not lift the 15-cent cap property tax which would benefit HCHD.
The final results included 764 constituents for lifting the tax cap and 771 against.
"It was very disappointing. Although I'm thrilled that everybody did go out and vote. That's critical. But this is not a fatal blow," Blackwell said.
Another board member echoed a similar emotion.
"It leaves a much higher hurdle for us to overcome to bring healthcare to Houston County," said Kathi Calvert, a HCHD board member.
The hurdle includes finding a solid source of financial support by exploring alternative options.
"We're looking at options. We're not giving up. It's just an indication of where the voters are and we have to find other paths because healthcare is fundamental and it's important to all of us," Calvert said.
Blackwell said, even with the bump, negotiations are on track to open the hospital before the end of the year where potentially 50 jobs or more could be brought back.
"We will be going forward working diligently to again to continue to reopen the hospital. Only thing that we don't have right now is the tool of increasing our tax rate to what other comparable hospital districts have," Blackwell said.
Board members along with Blackwell plan to visit Austin to continue on track with negotiations Thursday.