Hospital takes levy opponents to task on tax hike allegation
An allegation that the proposed construction of a new Perham Memorial Hospital and Home could bring another tax hike is being vehemently denied by hospital officials.
In an ad placed last week in the Perham Enterprise Bulletin, the Concerned Citizens for Property Tax Fairness suggested that the hospital project could bring yet another tax.
"How many taxes can you afford? School referendum, new hospital, state, county and local," stated the ad. The Concerned Citizens group is opposing the school's levy referendum, which will be on the ballot Nov. 4.
"I want to clarify something I saw in an ad in last week's paper...This group is encouraging people to vote no on the school levy and seem to suggest that the new hospital will affect taxes," said Hospital Manager Chuck Hofius. "I want to assure people this group's suggestion is not correct. The hospital board has repeatedly said their intention is not to raise taxes to pay for a new hospital."
The Perham Hospital District, which includes cities and townships throughout most of East Otter Tail County, does have taxing authority, and is presently collecting about $500,000 a year.
But Hofius said there is no plan to tax for the new hospital. The board will bond for the project, which will be repaid by the revenue generated at the new facility.
"I'm not asking people to vote yes or no on the levy. But please don't let the new hospital weigh into your decision," said Hofius. "Your hospital taxes will be the same with or without the new hospital, and with or without the school levy. Our community needs both, strong schools and a strong hospital."
He said the hospital management has not taken a position on the school levy.
"We wanted to stay as quiet as possible," said Hofius. "We don't want the hospital project to have any affect on the levy vote....Your taxes will be the same whether or not the hospital is built."
The hospital district presently has the authority to tax up to four percent of the net tax capacity of a property.
Tax collections on any given property can fluctuate as property values rise, noted Hofius, but there is no plan to increase the basic four percent levy.