Growing backlog of needed technology and facility upgrades prompts
Hospital to ask voters to increase M&O tax by 31 cents
Proposition will be on August 1 primary ballot
The Island Hospital Board of Commissioners announced today that after careful consideration, they have voted unanimously to ask Public Hospital District No. 2 residents to approve a 31-cent increase in its annual Maintenance & Operations (M&O) property tax levy on the August 2017 ballot.
“The hospital faces a growing backlog of needed technology and facility upgrades because costs are outpacing revenues from all sources,” said Commissioner Warren Tessler, who presented the motion. “This increase would generate an additional $1.7 million a year to help pay for capital projects that include an electronic medical-records (EMR) system, vital maintenance projects for older facilities and new diagnostic equipment.”
“Without an additional reliable and steady source of revenue, it will become difficult for the hospital to operate as it is, providing high-quality comprehensive healthcare services to its residents.”
A publicly owned hospital such as Island relies upon taxpayer support to help meet the healthcare needs of its residents. Hospital revenues provide 97 percent of the hospital’s annual $100 million budget; the remaining 3 percent comes from taxes. Even with a 31-cent increase, district residents likely will continue to pay the lowest property taxes in Skagit County. No tax dollars are used to pay employee salaries or benefits.
Voters have not been asked to increase the M&O levy in more than 30 years! The levy has remained the same since the last year (1987) that electronic records are available, when it was 21 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. For the past several years, the levy rate has remained around 19 cents.
If the proposition is approved, property owners in 2018 would pay an estimated $29.28 more per $100,000 of property value annually.
Over the next two months, the Island Hospital Board of Commissioners and executive staff will be out in the community speaking about the ballot measure, answering questions and hearing concerns and suggestions. For more information, including dates for community meetings, contact Dennis Richards at (360) 299-1310 or firstname.lastname@example.org.