Hospital District Budget Vote Disappointing
The Pend Oreille Hospital taxing District (POHD) passed the maximum allowable operational budget increase of 3%, or, $33,401.00 upon the taxpayers in a 5-1 vote. Tax revenue that ends up being a portion of the net-profit is excessive and irresponsible taxation!
Bonner General Health (BGH), a separate “private” entity from the POHD, sharing all but one POHD Board Trustee, has the legal requirement as a “non-profit” to file a Form-990 annually, by May 15th. The Form-990 identifies BGH’s annual net-profit. The 2015 Form-990 was signed the day after the 2016 budget increase vote (July 2016), identifies net-profits of $1.28 million, $1.46 million and (2017’s unsigned Form-990) $.953 million in 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively. Bonner County Taxpayers paid $1.03 million, $1.07 million and $1.10 million in hospital tax in 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively. It’s disappointing that transparency of the 2015 and 2016 net-profit amounts have been withheld from the public and Trustees, in consecutive years prior to the budget increase vote!
Any claim to a reduced tax rate to the property owner was never presented on any POHD hand-out or as part of the POHD discussion. Given the fact that Bonner County property values increased due to an increase in resident population and/or current property improvements, there is more tax value to spread the budget costs across. Most if not all, Bonner County taxing districts will see the same effect of a maximum budget increase in a rising property value market…, a slightly lower tax rate.
State Tax Commission – Rule 803, offers the POHD a responsible tax implementation policy. The ability to retrieve last year’s unrealized tax increases, in the tax year subsequent to a budget deficit. Considering that the BGH CEO, Sheryl Rickard, has produced million dollar net-profits annually, which are subsidized by tax payments, it is only appropriate that a Motion was offered to amend the 3% increase ($33,401.00) to a 0% increase. The Motion received neither a second, nor a discussion. A responsible single “NO VOTE” on the 3% increase resulted! An opportunity to pass on taking the low hanging tax fruit was discarded quicker than one could say, “Eve… NO!”