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Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 7 posts ] 
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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 2:48 pm 
The hospital administrators ask the hospital board of trustees to ask the county commission to vote to place a 4 mill increase on the property tax of residents and businesses on the November ballot. Everybody agreed so we;ll vote on it come the November general election. Rather than just passing on the sales pitches I began an investigation into the why and the who and the how residents of Grant County will be affected; and what is a mill levy? Then how the hospital has failed in its promise to retires and made Grant County vulnerable. The hospital promises to use the approximately $3.3 million a year for medical equipment and building upgrades and fixes.

First, how people are affected is different depending on where you live or own property as outlined blow. Not all property in Grant County is taxed at the same rate. Then the impact on retirees and the poor.

Below is the percent increase a 4 mills will cause to your current rate, location of property and current Mill rate. On your tax bill the Mill is expressed as a decimal for example Silver City's 17.776 is expressed in the line "2015 Tax Rate" as .017776. Also on your tax bill is a designation of what tax district you are in under the heading "School District" because originally Property Tax was for schools; there is a number 01 or 02 then a letter for town or out of town then an R for Residential or NR for Non-Residence, see below.

22.5% increase to Silver City Property Tax - Current rate - 17.776 Mills (School District/Tax District 01I_R) (I for in town limits)

26.488% increase in Cliff/Gila and the north and west county including Tyrone - Current rate - 15.101 Mills (School District/Tax District 01O_R) (aka 1-out)

23.3% increase in Santa Clara - Current rate - 17.163 Mills (School District/Tax District 02C_R)

22.5% increase in Bayard - Current rate - 17.751 Mills (School District/Tax District 02B_R)

22.48 increase in Hurley - Current rate - 17.971 Mills (School District/Tax District 02H_R)

24.285% increase in East County Mimbres, up to Lake Roberts and the Mining District around and south and west of but excluding Bayard, Hurley and Santa Clara. - Current rate - 16.471 Mills (School District/Tax District 01O_R) (aka 2-out)

The Taxable Value is the Total Full Value as determined by the assessors office (land plus structures) divided by 3. In the sales pitches given by the hospital and county a full value of $100,000 is used as an example. The taxable value is then $33,3333 which is multiplied by .004 (the decimal value of 4 Mill) to show that that property will get an increase of $132.00 per year for each of the next 4 years when the increase sunsets. Will the hospital's cash flow get fixed or will we be asked to pass the increase again. The maximum increase that can be ask for is 4.25 Mills.

Is the $100,000 value a representative example? Depends where you live or own property. You will have to look at your tax bill and do the numbers.

If you are a renter and will be voting remember that an increase in the landlords property cost can mean an increase in your rent. Recently both the county and Silver City increased their sales (GRT) tax and Silver City is contemplating another increase and now perhaps an increase in Property Tax. Question, when are the County Commissioners and the Town Council going to pass an increase to the minimum wage so everybody can afford to shop and pay their rents? And we're not even talking about people who live on fixed incomes; very worrisome for them.

There is concern among the retirees and soon to be retirees that the hospital lacks critical care for many of their needs. Once touted as a retirement mecca many, an alarming number, are, for this reason fleeing and trying to sell their often expensive homes. A bit of interesting history is that during the very devastating mine shutdown of the early/mid 1980's the county and towns got so freaked that the decision was made to court the retires but the old Hillcrest Hospital was in a disgraceful condition so a new, the current, hospital was built as a promise to the retirees that healthcare relevant to them was available; the promise never panned out, the hospital knows but doesn't know what to do about it and unfortunately this new tax won't change that. At 33 years old this hospital needs more fixes and modernizations.

So, lots to think about and decide for the upcoming November election.

Watch theGRMC Town Hall Meeting of August 22 wherein hospital CEO Brian Cunningham speaks about the hospital care and the tax increase: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_wzWvmuUdQ

 Author: gila honey
PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:23 pm 
You are right on the money with your comment:[
b]Question, when are the County Commissioners and the Town Council going to pass an increase to the minimum wage so everybody can afford to shop and pay their rents? And we're not even talking about people who live on fixed incomes; very worrisome for them.[/b]
I for one am going to vote against this tax increase.
Gov. Martinez should be helping out on this local need. But she has never concerned herself with the needs of middle and lower income New Mexicans.


"All you need is LOVE"

 Author: elektron
PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 4:25 am 
This is a good analysis of the impact of the proposed levy. We don't see efforts like this in the other media. But on another topic, I wonder when the remodel of the convention center will be finished. As I recall, it was funded by a county-passed increase to our gross receipts taxes, with revenues pledged to pay down bonds. Commissioners moved with lightning speed on that one, unlike the remodel itself which is running about as slow as tree sap.

 Author: JoeButts
PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 7:01 am 
Crow, you were way too polite when you wrote, "There is concern among the retirees and soon to be retirees that the hospital lacks critical care for many of their needs."
Is the hospital owned by our local government or privately? If privately, as I thought it was, let them raise their own money. Medical equipment and building upgrades and fixes are not what this hospital needs. They need competent staff from all I hear.
I'm covered under the VA and would rarely, if ever, use GRMC. Don't tax me to fix another failing business just because I live in the area.
The gross receipts hikes we received in the last year was enough to choke a horse since they were all 3 hikes applied at one time. Great trick they pulled on us there. And, what have we received in return? A new bridge on Hudson/90? What other infrastructures have been improved?
Increasing our cost of living here is not being friendly to our residents. This is especially true when we are seeing some of our big employers (Freeport in particular) cutting back.
How long will it take for SC to become a ghost town?
Sounds like it's time to move while the NY Times still thinks we have great restaurants and opportunities for retirees.
I certainly oppose the tax increase. You probably guessed that.

 Author: PF
PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 9:08 am 
I find this whole discussion quite confusing. It sounds as though the hospital is seeking funding for capital improvements. Isn't such funding normally handled through bond issues which are paid off over a long period of time? I don't know if the hospital has a separate capital budget, whether there were prior bond issues, what the extent of the hospital's indebtedness is, etc. It seems that WNMU has been successful in getting substantial state funding for capital improvements. Isn't that possible for the hospital as well?

 Author: crow
PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 11:22 am 
The hospital is county owned but is mostly semi-autonomus of the county; it has its own Board of Trustees who hire and fire the administration. Back in 2013 when it became public knowledge that the hospital was essentially bankrupt the County Commissioners, in early 2013, voted "No Confidence" in the Board of Trustees who then forced out the then current CEO and Brian Cunningham was promoted to the position. Other top administrators were forced out as were some of the trustees. At that same time there was a $10 Million bond for building improvements and additions but the bond was canceled and the money returned to the lender as there was 0 possibility of making bond payments.

Brian began a sometimes controversial restructuring and "cutting of the fat" like disbanding the "Home Health/Hospice" in 2014. Over the last 2 years under the leadership of Brian and the Board they have managed to pull themselves out of $10 Million deficit to become more stable while insurance payments and State help fell precipitously. This tax hike seems to have been well orchestrated as it comes on the heels of a Medicare Survey that awarded the hospital 4 stars out of a possible 5. I published the press release HERE if you wish to read it.

My own experience, shorty before my partner died a year and a half ago she did a stint in the hospital, the rooms were pretty empty and numerous times I had to request that the bed pan be emptied and when she was feeling better she requested more food, so for dinner they brought her a half a bowl of soup (though she had no diet restrictions) then closed the kitchen. She also didn't see the same doctor twice. To be fair there are many people who report a good experience.

 Author: elektron
PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 12:16 pm 
To explain some issues that were raised: The hospital was built when Paul Volker chaired the Federal Reserve under Carter and Reagan. Inflation was high, but so were interest rates. And so, hospital construction was funded with local municipal bonds, and revenues were pledged to debt service and repayment of principal. (And the bonds carried a sky-high rate of about 15 percent, too!) After a few years, these old bonds were "called away" when interest rates fell, and new bonds were issued at a lower rate. I don't know the maturities or if they are all gone now. Yes, new local hospital general obligation bonds could be issued, but Grant County residents would have to pay them down. The state and statewide voters would not OK a general obligation bond that benefitted only Gila Regional, so that won't work. And an appropriation for the local hospital is a challenge with the current budget shortfall in Santa Fe.

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