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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 .

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 .

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 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.

Bill Angel November 29, 2011 at 04:42 PM
Mr. Scott, we could not agree with you more! Looks like the Mayor of Elmhurst is looking to cash in on two government jobs and two pensions and two expenses accounts on the people's dime.
Deke November 29, 2011 at 05:51 PM
Northwestern Memorial Healthcare and Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare are engaged in "exclusive affiliation discussions," according to recent reports and postings on their respective websites. Apparently the discussions will take several months before any decisions are made. As to whether the hospital is in financial turmoil, Fitch's (a bond rating service) rated recent EMH bonds as "A-" with a "stable" outlook. You can debate what that means all day, but the bottom line probably is that EMH is feeling a pinch because of the economy generally but not in "turmoil."
TCB November 29, 2011 at 08:43 PM
Unfortunately Scott, the one's who "get it" stay home and don't want to get involved in all this junk. Who can blame them? Look at the harassment Dan Spaeth had to put up with on the school board, and he was the smartest, most detailed guy in the room.
Karen Chadra December 01, 2011 at 04:16 PM
Some towns are actually planning to reduce their levies: http://wheaton.patch.com/articles/city-proposes-reduced-property-tax-levy
Jim Court December 01, 2011 at 04:49 PM
I asked if anyone knew if what I had mentioned has been done. Does anyone know?

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