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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.

Dan November 29, 2011 at 01:36 PM
So if the hospital doesn't get the non for profit status like many other non for profits that have appealed the state will the citizens get the refund that would have gone to the hospital?
bill trudeau November 29, 2011 at 02:35 PM
I've heard that the hospital is in financial turmoil and is in the process of being sold to Northwestern. Can anyone confirm this?
Bill Angel November 29, 2011 at 02:47 PM
Kevin York, Steve Hipskind & Peter DiCianni, thank you so very much for the property taxes increases for the third year in a row. Tax & Spend liberals. Our property values have gone down significantly & city servcies have sunk to an all time new low . You've nickeled and dimed the residents to no end. How about living within your means? How about asking the voters if thay prefer yet another tax increase or to cut wasteful spending. Do we need a task force to help you to stop the reckless spending?
Jim Court November 29, 2011 at 03:30 PM
Has anyone made a comparative analysis of city staffing levels that existed in the year 2000 and the staffing level that was driven by increasing tax revenues based on inflated property values that have since gone down in value? The population has not changed that much although a certain level of expansion in responsibilities exist as a result of real estate developments must be factored in. How do we compare to staffing levels of other similar communities? I am not sure that this has been looked into. Does anyone know the answer to any of the above questions?
Scott November 29, 2011 at 04:26 PM
A total tax levy of 4.5% is a pathetic joke. Annualized inflation running at 3.5% for the 12 months ended in October, 30 year treasury bonds yielding 3.00%, wages in the private sector barely going up, if at all, for those lucky enough to keep their jobs, interest rates on bank accounts virtually zero and the S&P stock market up 1.7% since one year ago. Apparently the best place to make any money is to be in the government! When are we going to elect officials who "get it" and make the hard decisions needed to get the costs under control? This group clearly doesn't.
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 (Editor) 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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