Final Public Budget Hearing: September 23, 2021

Final Public Budget Hearing: September 23, 2021

Final Public Budget Hearing
FY 2021-2022
September 23, 2021
5:01 PM

TRUSTEES: Marybeth Cunningham Kerry Bartlett
Dr. Michael Weiss Ann Marie McCrystal
Karen Deigl Barb Bodnar
Allen Jones- via Zoom

STAFF: Ann Marie Suriano Jennifer Frederick
Kate Voss Jennifer Peshke, Esq.

Convene Meeting – Marybeth Cunningham, Chairwoman

Mrs. Cunningham convened the final public budget hearing of the Indian River County Hospital District (“IRCHD”) at 5:01 p.m. She explained that once this meeting is adjourned, the District will convene its regular monthly meeting after. Ms. Bodnar provided an invocation and Dr. Weiss led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Review of the September 8, 2021 Proposed FY 2021-2022 Budget Information and Approve Tentative Budget – Allen Jones, Treasurer

Mr. Jones stated that this hearing is the last of the two statutorily required public meetings to finalize the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. He explained that the District has held several budget discussion meetings and that the public has had ample opportunity to comment on the final budget. As a review, he stated that on September 8th, the Trustees voted to adopt a proposed millage rate .7612, which is a reduction of 4.98% in millage from the current FY year millage of .8011. This millage will maintain the same ad valorem tax revenue as the current fiscal year. The reduction in millage results in the same revenues to the District as the current fiscal year, but represents a decrease of 1.65% as a percentage of the rolled-back rate. The reason the reduction in millage results in flat revenues is that assessed property tax values in Indian River County increased somewhat over 5% year over year. The District will continue to support agencies providing healthcare services to the public to improve community health. To prepare for contingencies particularly with regard to COVID, the Trustees have built reserves to be able to respond to constantly changing healthcare circumstances. The budget tentatively approved anticipates carrying over $4.2 million in reserves, of which about $1.8 million are restricted for specifically designated needs, and increasing reserves of $3.9 million further to $8.1 million, in order to be properly prepared to respond to potential community needs. He then asked if there was any public comment concerning the budget and there was none. Therefore, he asked for a motion to adopt a millage rate.

Adoption of FY 2021-2022 Budget Resolutions 2021-05 & 2021-06

Ms. Bodnar made a motion to adopt Resolution 2015-05 with a millage rate of .6633. The motion was seconded by Ms. Deigl for discussion. During Trustee discussion, Dr. Weiss made an amended motion to adopt a millage rate of .7144, which would provide a reduction in the reserves. Mrs. McCrystal seconded the amended motion for Trustee discussion. Ms. Bodnar stated that she is not in favor of the higher millage rate. She believes the funds generated from the millage of .6633 provide ample reserves for the District to carry out its mission and address any unforeseen healthcare initiatives. The millage rate of .7144 only reduces the reserves by $900,000, which seems insignificant and an attempt to meet in the middle.

Mrs. McCrystal then made a secondary amendment to the motion and moved to adopt a millage rate of .7612. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Cunningham for discussion. Mrs. McCrystal stated that at a previous budget discussion meeting, Mr. Jones recommended to the Trustees that they allocate $3 million of noncommitted reserves to CCIRH for additional support to the Mother/Baby obstetric wing renovation campaign. She stated that she was initially not in favor of this proposal but after further consideration, she is in support of providing those funds to CCIRH. This is due to the fact that CCIRH has remained committed to serving the needs of Indian River County through the COVID-19 pandemic and tackled the crisis head-on. Without their leadership and resources, this county would be in a very different position. She would like the Trustees to reconsider Mr. Jones initial recommendation and adopt the millage of .7612, which would provide ample funds to support this initiative.

Mrs. Cunningham stated that the Trustees have had many discussions surrounding the budget and subsequently approved a millage of .7612 on September 7th. She respects Mrs. McCrystal’s comments about CCIRH campaign however, she does not believe that at this hearing, the Trustees should make decisions about specific allocations of reserves to specific funding initiatives. She does however support the millage rate of .7612 and understands that some Trustees believe the reserves are high but know there are more unmet needs within the community that the District may be able to support. She would also like the District to complete its Strategic Visioning process which will uncover those needs and the District’s plan to address them.

Ms. Deigl addressed the board and stated that she appreciated the discussion at yesterday’s Chairman’s meeting, and respects the opinions of the board. She believes that the District’s strategic visioning process will take some time and does not believe the District should burden the taxpayers with a high millage before the strategic visioning process has been completed. She is not in favor of adopting a millage with the highest reserve amount.

Ms. Bartlett provided her comments and stated that through the many budget discussion meetings, and her personal goal is to see substantive change in health inequities. The District has the opportunity to address the systemic health issues that are affecting the community and proactively seek partners who share this vision, and work collaboratively. The District will need capital to achieve this, therefore she is in favor of approving the higher millage.

Mr. Jones stated that he agrees with the Trustee comments concerning the District opportunities through the strategic visioning process. However, he believes there are sufficient reserves within the budget to achieve all of the objectives that they are striving for, with a millage of .6633. He would also be in favor of adopting a millage of .7144, which reduced the tax revenues collected, but he is not in favor of adopting a millage of .7612.

There was no further Trustee discussion and Mrs. Peshke indicated that the Trustees need to vote on the secondary amendment to the motion, to adopt a millage rate of .7612. Mrs. Cunningham called the question and the motion failed 5-2 with only Mrs. Cunningham and Mrs. McCrystal in favor. Since the motion failed, the Trustees will now vote on the primary amended motion to adopt a millage rate of .7144. Mrs. Cunningham called the question and the motion carried 6-1, with Ms. Bodnar in opposition. Mrs. Peshke indicated that with the amended motion adopted, they will now need to call for public comment on the motion to adopt a millage rate of .7144. There was no further public comment or Trustee discussion. Mrs. Cunningham made a motion to adopt Resolution 2021-05 which would adopt a millage rate of .7144, which was seconded by Dr. Weiss. The motion carried 6-1, with Ms. Bodnar in opposition. Next, Mr. Jones made a motion to adopt Resolution 2021-06, which would adopt an overall ad valorem budget of $14,728,927. The motion was seconded by Mrs. McCrystal for discussion and public comment. There was no further Trustee discussion or public comment, and the motion carried 6-1, with Ms. Bodnar in opposition. Mr. Jones announced publicly that the millage rate as a percent of the rolled-back rate is a decrease of 7.7%. He thanked the Trustees for their diligent work on this budget process.

Public Comment & Adjourn

There was no further public comment and the meeting was adjourned at 5:30 PM.