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Next year's Winneshiek Medical Center budget includes an increase in property tax support

Posted: Tue, Mar 5, 2019 4:36 PM

Winneshiek Medical Center's proposed 2019-2020 operating budget is calling for an increase in the property tax levy for the first time in more than 25 years.

Figures provided by WMC, based on a Winneshiek County Assessor's report on residential property taxes, predict the increase from $0.441 per thousand dollars of assessed valuation to $0.772 per thousand would cost the average homeowner another $28.86 in property taxes a year to an average expense of $67.35 a year.

WMC officials say the tax levy increase is needed because "the healthcare environment has changed and become more unstable."  They say over the past ten years due to an increase in uninsured and underinsured patients, unreimbursed care has increased by double digits.  Additionally, reimbursement for services provided has decreased, creating wider gaps between costs and revenues.

Based on the latest tax rates provided by the Iowa Department of Management, Winneshiek Medical Center has the fourth lowest tax levy rate out of 42 county-owned hospitals in Iowa.  If the new tax levy rate is approved, WMC would have the seventh lowest tax levy rate among the 42 hospitals.

The new property tax rate will result in $1,026,294 in collections--up from the $586,454 collected this year.

Overall, the operating budget includes a projection of $67.3 million in net revenues, with $66.1 million in operating expenses.  That would result in a 1.8 percent operating margin, or an operating gain of $1.2 million.

The WMC Board of Trustees held a public hearing on the budget Tuesday afternoon, but there were no comments.  The board then approved the 2019-2020 budget, including the property tax levy increase, during its regular meeting.