Breckenridge Texan

Hospital board sets tax rate hearing for next week

Hospital board sets tax rate hearing for next week
August 28
13:04 2018

During their regular meeting on Thursday, Aug. 23, directors of the Stephens Memorial Hospital District approved a proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018-19 and set a date for a public hearing on the proposed budget and a meeting to adopt the proposed budget. The directors also set the proposed tax rate for the fiscal year 2018 at $0.239880 per $100 value, which is the same rate as the previous year.

They also set dates for two public hearings on the proposed tax rate and a date for a meeting to adopt the tax rate.

The first public hearing on the proposed tax rate will be held at noon Sept. 6 at the O.C. Heairren Annex Building at 1207 E. Williams St. The second public hearing on the tax rate will be at noon Sept. 13, at the same location.

Although the board voted to keep the same tax rate as last year, local property values have increased. That means the hospital district will collect more money from homeowners, even though the rate remains the same.

Despite the fact that the hospital board is not raising the tax rate, state law requires that they have a hearing on the tax rate because it is more than the “effective tax rate.” The effective tax rate is the rate that will allow the hospital district to collect approximately the same amount of total revenue as it did last year. Since the property values increased, the hospital district would need to lower the tax rate in order to collect about the same amount of money.

However, since the board decided to keep the current tax rate, which is slightly above the effective rate – by one-third of one cent per $100 property valuation – the district is required to hold two public hearings on the tax rate.

“We stuck with the current rate, which is a little bit above the effective rate, so the amount of revenue generated will be a little bit higher than last year because of that,” said SMH Administrator Matthew Kempton. “Because we’re above the effective rate, we are required to have two public hearings on the tax rate.”

According to the SMH website, the average taxable value of a residence homestead in the Stephens County Hospital District last year was $95,570. Based on last year’s tax rate of $0.239880 per $100 of taxable value, the amount of taxes imposed last year on the average home was $229.25.

The average taxable value of a residence homestead in Stephens County Hospital District this year is $96,710. By keeping the same rate as last year ($0.239880 per $100 of taxable value), the district will collect $231.99 on the average home. That’s $2.74 more for the year for the average homeowner.

According to the SMH website, keeping the same tax rate will increase total tax revenues from properties on the tax roll in the preceding tax year by 1.62 percent.

If the board were to adopt the effective tax rate for this year of $0.236057 per $100 of taxable value, the amount of taxes imposed this year on the average home would be $228.29, according to the SMH website. That is 96 cents less for the year for the average homeowner.

Kempton said because the board doesn’t have any control over the property valuations, they decided to keep the rate the same as it was last year. With the fluctuations in property values from year to year, lowering the rate to the effective tax rate could be detrimental to the hospital’s budget, he said.

In addition to the hearings on the tax rate, the hospital district board also will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at the Heairren Annex, 1207 E. Williams St. Immediately following that public hearing, there will be a board meeting to adopt the proposed by budget and the proposed property tax rate.

For more information on the tax rate hearing, visit the hospital’s website.

Story by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

Cutline, top photo: Stephens County Memorial Hospital Administrator Matthew Kempton addresses board members during their meeting last Thursday. During the meeting, directors approved a proposed budget for fiscal year 2018-19 and set a date for a public hearing on the proposed budget. They also set the proposed tax rate for the fiscal year 2018 and set dates for public hearings on the proposed tax rate. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

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