Hospital approves 1 percent tax hikes

The amount Whidbey General Hospital collects for two levies will increase by the maximum allowed 1 percent beginning in 2011.

In a special meeting Monday, the Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the annual hike for both its emergency medical services levy and its regular levy. Collectively, the hike will add $59,623 to hospital coffers.

According to hospital Chief Financial Officer Joe Vessey, the hospital’s levy collection in 2011 could be greater than what was taken in this past year due to new construction.

Because of that, the board approved a measure that assigns an estimated ceiling for both levies to help plan for the proposed operating budget, which will go before for board next month.

In 2010, the EMS levy brought in $5.11 million. The 1 percent hike will allow the hospital to increase its collection by $51,164 in 2011. The board approved ceiling increased the total possible collection to $5.97 million. Similarly, the 2010 collection of the regular levy was $845,893, which would provide an additional $8,459 in 2011. The new approved ceiling was for $995,000.

Neither ceiling can be used to increase the base for the 1 percent hike.

The vast majority of the hospital’s revenues come from medical reimbursements. In 2011, operating revenues in the general fund alone are expected to bring in about $180 million. The hospital’s entire operating budget is still being formulated but is expected to go before the board December 13.

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