Somervell County Hospital District has called a joint-meeting with commissioners court. The meeting, which is open to the public, will begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, in the commissioners courtroom in the county annex.

The single-item agenda includes consultation with the hospital district's attorney.

County Judge Mike Ford said the meeting will be held entirely in open session. He said it will allow officials and the public to get a better understanding of how the operation of Glen Rose Medical Center would proceed if efforts to dissolve the hospital district are successful.

Attorney Kevin Reed, whose practice focuses primarily on hospitals and hospital districts, represents the local district.

Larry Shaw, board chairman, said the hospital district hopes the meeting provide insight on the "complexities involved with dissolving a district." He said if the dissolution effort prevails, the county could be faced with issues for which they are not prepared.

"The county could end up being responsible for hospital debt and indigent care," Shaw said.

Such allowances were not made when commissioners court approved the budget for the current fiscal year due to the fact that the formation of the district was approved in May, months before the budget was adopted.

"Our attorney is going to discuss the nuts and bolts of what could happen," Shaw said, adding once officials have been briefed, the public will be allowed to comment or ask questions.

In late October, the organizer of the petition seeking dissolution said he and supporters were four signatures away from the required number.

But Somervell County resident Paul Harper, who has spearheaded the effort to gain voter support, said Friday, Nov. 1 dozens more signatures have since been collected.

"We have 819 unique and valid signatures," Harper said.

For an election to be called, signatures of 15 percent - 790 - of the hospital district's valid and current registered voters - 5,265 - must be collected.

According to Harper's latest tally, there are almost 30 more signatures than the required number, and he expects to collect additional signatures as the Nov. 20 deadline approaches.