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Tax asking to stay the same

Taxation rate has not changed in six years

The Van Diest Medical Center Board of Trustees voted to keep the hospital’s tax asking the same for the coming year. The board met Tuesday night in a virtual format.

A public hearing on the tax asking was held at the start of the board meeting. Chief Financial Officer Alice Heinrichs said that the taxation rate as proposed would remain the same as it has been for the past six years at $2.10 per thousand in valuation.

“With the 3 ½ percent increase in county property valuations, the amount to be raised by taxation is $2,177,966. This would fund 6 percent of our proposed expenditures for 2022,” Heinrichs told the trustees.

She said with the addition of $38,945 estimated utility tax replacement excise tax, the total tax revenues will increase by more than $74,000, moving the total revenue to just over $2.2 million.

Heinrichs said that compared to other Iowa hospitals that are organized to levy for tax revenues, VDMC ranks 20th of 43.

“This means that 19 hospitals in the state have higher rates per thousand of valuation than we do,” she said.

With regard to the total county tax appropriations for 2020, VDMC had about 7 percent of the total county tax dollars. That. Heinrichs said, funded about 6 percent of the hospital’s expenditures. The school receives 39 percent of the taxation, while the county receives 33 percent and the city receives 17 percent, according to Heinrichs.

The hospital provides the county with EMS service and is not fully reimbursed for the service, Heinrichs said as a reason for maintaining the current tax asking.

“We also continue to evaluate what consumers need in the community to expand or add additional services,” she said. “This comes with those additional start up expenses related to new equipment, staffing of providers and clinical staff. We continue to need the tax funding to offset costs for services, especially FICA and IPERS benefit costs.”

Heinrichs said the federal deficits and state budget cuts for Medicaid and Medicare funding trickles down to the local hospital in the form of smaller reimbursement.

Chairman Carroll Ose said it was the recommendation of the finance committee to keep the tax asking at the current level.

The board unanimously approved the 2021-2022 tax asking.

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