Committee Adjusts Levy Numbers to Handle Hospital Curve Ball
Campus taxed now but city might need to refund money
The city's Finance, Council Affairs and Administrative Services Committee Monday dealt with a financial issue from left field, one that the Elmhurst Unit District 205 School Board faced last week.
Taxing bodies in the city now have to levy as if Elmhurst Memorial Hospital is taxed as a for-profit entity, Elmhurst's Finance Director Marilyn Gaston told the committee.
Because the hospital is applying to the state to retain its nonprofit status, the city will likely have to refund any money it collects on the property. Hospitals all over Illinois are being evaluated to determine whether they will continue to receive tax-exempt status.
Gaston said the York Township assessor told taxing bodies to estimate an additional $38 million in new growth from the expanded hospital campus at York and Brush Hill roads. This means the city has to ask for an additional 2.25 percent or $200,000 from residents in addition to a levy increase the committee discussed in previous meetings.
Given the new information about the hospital, the committee agreed to recommend a total tax levy increase of 4.5 percent, with half sitting off to the side to reimburse Elmhurst Memorial and half used to fund city services for another year. In prior meetings, the committee had considered higher increases to handle rising costs.
“I think we can find ways to make this work,” Fourt Ward Alderman Kevin York said of the 2.25 percent increase.
He noted health care expenses for city workers were going to be less than originally budgeted. However, committee members agreed an increase was needed to if the city was to continue to provide the level of services residents expect.
Committee chairman and Fourth Ward Alderman Stephen Hipskind said he was confident the hospital would retain its nonprofit status.
“And if not, lucky us,” he added.
The levy proposal now goes to the full City Council.