Hospital district taxation set to increase

A 2011 final budget and five year financial projection draft was presented to the board of the Stuart Nechako Regional Hospital District by treasurer, Hans Berndorff recently.

A total of $4 million is held in capital reserves to go towards the Lakes District Hospital replacement project.

A 2011 final budget and five year financial projection draft was presented to the board of the Stuart Nechako Regional Hospital District by treasurer, Hans Berndorff recently.

The draft budget suggested that hospital district taxation remain at the current level, then increase by 43 per cent in 2014.

“At 2011 assessment [rates] this translates into a tax rate of 95 cents per $1,000 or $95 for a $100,000 property starting in 2015,” Berndorff noted in his report.

A five year financial projection was also received by the board which included borrowing for the Lakes District Hospital replacement project.

The boundaries of the Stuart Nechako Regional Hospital District include most of the central and eastern portions of the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako, including Burns Lake, Fraser Lake, Fort St. James, Granisle, and Vanderhoof together with electoral areas B, Burns Lake rural, C, Fort St. James rural, D, Fraser Lake rural, E, Francois Oosta rural and F, Vanderhoof rural.

Excluded from the hospital district are the western portions of the RDBN which include Houston, Smithers and Telkwa, together with electoral areas A, Smithers rural and G, Houston rural.

Berndorff reported that the projections are based on nine assumptions which included; the total cost for the Lakes District Hospital to be $56 million, the hospital district is required to pay 40 per cent of the total cost for the hospital replacement project, annual grants for minor equipment and building integrity remain at the current levels, taxation remains at the current level for as long as possible, there will be an annual allowance of $100,000 for major equipment starting in 2013, there will be an annual allowance of $100,000 for other capital projects starting in 2013; a cash shortfall of $13.2 million, a five per cent interest rate on debenture borrowing and that debt will be repaid over 10 years.

“Based on these assumptions, taxation can be held at the current level until 2014,” Berndorff reported.

In 2010 the tax rate for the hospital district was set at 72 cents per $1,000 which brought in a total of over $223 million in revenue.

In 2011 the estimated tax rate was set to decrease to 66 cents per $1,000, however due to increased property assessments across the district the estimated revenue would amount to a little over $242 million.

Berndorff said to Lakes District News, “The draft budget showed 2011 taxation at the same level as 2010, which resulted in a lower tax rate because assessments have increased.”

He went on to say, “The board asked me to increase taxation for 2011 so that the tax rate is the same as 2010 [72 cents per $100,000]. He went on to say that he has not yet calculated the amount of revenue the increase will net the hospital district.

Currently the Stuart Nechako Regional Hospital District have a total of $4 million held in a capital reserve towards the Lakes District Hospital Replacement project.

The final draft budget for 2011 will be on the Stuart Nechako Regional Hospital District agenda for the March 24 meeting, for final approval by the board.