Would fund operational costs, maintenance
Three Rivers Hospital in Brewster is seeking a one-year excess property tax levy to help fund maintenance and operations.
The proposition, which appears on the April 28 special election ballot, asks voters consider a one-time levy of about $750,000. The rate per $1,000 of assessed property value would be about 33 cents, to be collected in 2021, according to a press release.
If approved, the funds would cover some of the hospital’s operational costs, particularly the emergency room, the release said.
“One thing our communities have always agreed on is the importance of having an ER, but the reimbursement rate is lower than the cost of services,” said Three Rivers CEO Scott Graham in the release. “We typically rely on revenue from our other services to help bridge that gap between the cost of providing emergency care and what we receive.”
The hospital’s board of commissioners approved the levy resolution during its Feb. 26 meeting. Ballots were mailed to voters last week.
In 2016, hospital district voters approved a levy lid lift on an existing tax levy, raising the rate from 63 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to about 75 cents per $1,000. The current tax rate is about 74 cents per $1,000.
With the extra funds from the earlier levy increase, the hospital was able to replace patient beds and furniture, move the Three Rivers Family Medicine clinic next door into the former Hillcrest House assisted living facility, and move the emergency department to the newest section of the hospital.
A second measure on the 2016 ballot for a capital improvement levy did not receive enough votes to pass the 60 percent supermajority requirement.
Property taxes paid to the hospital currently comprise about 5 percent of its total annual income, according to the press release.
Three Rivers Hospital is a public, nonprofit hospital that serves the largest geographic hospital district in Washington — an area of 2,500 square miles that includes the Methow Valley. About 15,000 people live in the district.