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Except for 2014, each year since 2013 the community has supported the Hospital District with annual special levies and with a small regular levy. Since 2013, these two levies averaged $616,119 per annum of levy support for the Hospital District’s ongoing maintenance and operations. The use of annual special levy requests is problematic. Special levies are generally used for building and large capital improvement projects, not to fund ongoing maintenance and operating costs. As a better approach to handling the ongoing community support need for the Hospital District’s operations, we are requesting an increase in the regular levy, called a “Levy Lift” starting in tax year 2018. The regular levy would increase from $.318/$1,000 to $.75/$1,000 of property value per annum.

WHY are we making the change?

First, for stability & sustainability, the Hospital District needs stability to provide healthcare for the community. Each year the organization lives on the edge to provide healthcare for the community with the annual special levy request because the regular levy is underfunded to support hospital operations. With the passing of the “Levy Lift” on November 7th, the District can better maintain operations knowing that the levy will consistently support the ongoing operations of the clinic and hospital. The $.75/$1,000 better aligns with the true operating costs of Hospital District, the current $.318/$1,000 would increase by $.432/$1,000 to the $.75/$1,000 and not cost the tax payers $1.34/$1,000 which is currently funded through the regular levy and the special levy.

Second, for recruitment and retention, it is very difficult to recruit highly qualified medical professionals to our community when we must annually ask the community for support to help fund ongoing maintenance and operations of the Hospital District. Medical and professional candidates do their homework about the Hospital District’s financial viability and the community’s ongoing support. Retention of staff is just as important as recruitment, if staff don’t have faith in the organization’s viability, they will leave causing a very expensive gap in healthcare coverage and costs to maintain healthcare expectations in the community.

Third, healthcare in Garfield County is changing we have seen a steady decline in inpatient services which is consistent in the industry. More services are switching to an outpatient basis with procedures performed in the clinic as opposed to the hospital. This makes it more affordable for the patient but more expensive to maintain the District services.

WHAT is a “Levy Lift”?

Currently, the Hospital District annual regular levy rate is approximately $.318/$1,000, the Hospital District is requesting a “lift” to the regular the tax rate up to the cap of $.75/$1,000. With the levy lift, the $.75/$1,000 will not change each year, it will be consistently $75/$1,000 of property tax value.

WHAT is the cost impact to the tax payer?

The actual cost to the tax payer will decrease. In 2017, between the special levy and regular levy, it costs the tax payers $1.34/$1,000 for a total $821,000. Based upon the 2018 levy lift request to the regular levy, it will cost no more than $.75/$1,000 per annum for an estimated total cost of $461,303. We are not asking for a special levy for tax year 2018.

Special levy requests should only be used for one-time large Hospital District improvements or equipment.

RESULTS of making the change: Healthcare service delivery at an affordable price in an ever-changing market.