First Public Budget Hearing: September 8, 2021

First Public Budget Hearing: September 8, 2021

First Public Budget Hearing FY-21-22
September 8, 2021
5:01 PM

TRUSTEES: Marybeth Cunningham Kerry Bartlett
Karen Deigl Barb Bodnar
Ann Marie McCrystal
Allen Jones – via Zoom

ABSENT: Dr. Michael Weiss

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

Convene Meeting – Marybeth Cunningham, Chairwoman IRCHD

Mrs. Cunningham convened the first public budget hearing of the Indian River County Hospital District (“IRCHD”) at 5:01 p.m. She provided an invocation and led the group in the pledge of allegiance.

Review of the July 15, 2021 Proposed FY 2020-2021 Budget Information – Allen Jones, Treasurer

Mr. Jones stated that today’s meeting is the first of two statutorily required public meetings held to finalize the FY 21-22 budget for the District. By the conclusion of today’s meeting and the second meeting on September 23, the public will have had ample opportunity to comment on the final budget and should have a clear understanding of the proposal. He explained that on July 15, the Trustees voted to adopt a proposed millage rate of .7612. That millage rate is a reduction of 4.98% in millage from the current fiscal year rate of .8011 and will maintain the same ad valorem tax revenue as the current fiscal year. Also, that 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. He further explained the reason the reduction in millage results in flat revenues, is because the assessed property tax values in Indian River County have increased over 5% year over year.

Purpose of Ad Valorem Tax Revenues

Mr. Jones stated that the District will continue to support community agencies that are providing healthcare services to residents of Indian River County. To prepare for contingencies, particularly during COVID, the Trustees have built reserves to be able to respond to constantly changing healthcare circumstances. The budget tentatively approved by the Trustees in July anticipates carrying over $4.2 million in reserves, of which about $1.8 million are restricted for specifically designated needs. This increases the total reserves by $3.9 million further, to $8.1 million in order to be properly prepared to respond to potential community needs. Additionally, he explained that the District has already met with representatives from CCIRH, TCCH, WFHC and has identified a number of potential areas that are likely to be very effective in improving community health. There have also been preliminary discussions with the County on consolidating healthcare expenditures within their budget that may overlap between the District’s budget. Consolidating these expenses may prove more efficient for taxpayers. Further, the Hospital District is planning to undertake a strategic visioning process beginning in the 4th quarter of 2021, to clearly establish its role and function to impact the improvement of health outcomes in our community. He further explained that the District’s administration expenses continue to be a relatively small part of total projected expenditures at 6.62% of ad valorem taxes. Lastly, he stated that the Trustees have met several times since July 15 in public meetings and have expressed their views on the budget proposed in July. At each meeting, the Trustees have encouraged members of the public to express comments. Mr. Jones asked for public comment and there was none.

Adoption of Tentative FY 2021-2022 Budget – Allen Jones, Treasurer

Mr. Jones stated that next the Trustees will need to adopt a millage rate and he asked for a motion on the same. Mrs. Deigl made a motion to adopt a millage rate of .7612, which was seconded by Mrs. McCrystal. There was Trustee discussion and Mr. Jones stated that while this board of trustees may not always agree, they share an understanding that the board has the opportunity to significantly impact improving healthcare services in the community. There is however some disagreement on how high the millage rate should be in the upcoming fiscal year to achieve this goal. Mr. Jones and other Trustees at a prior meeting, had expressed some discomfort with the proposed millage of .7612 and believe a lower millage is sufficient to carry out the District mission. However, it seems that the majority of the Trustees favor the current proposed rate of .7612. Therefore Mr. Jones feels it is more important in this vote to emphasize the strategic alignment of the trustees rather than tactical differences among them. Mrs. Cunningham agreed with Mr. Jones comments and reiterated the fact that the District does have ample opportunity in front of them to support healthcare in this community, and wants to support those agencies fulfill their mission. Mrs. Bodnar stated that does agree with the other Trustees concerning the District responsibility to support healthcare in the community but feels that mission can be accomplished with a lower amount in reserves, which would result in a lower millage rate. Ms. Deigl agreed with the prior Trustee comments and stated that over the next few weeks the Trustees have an opportunity to further review and discussion surrounding the budget and make any changes resulting in a potential lower millage rate. Mr. Jones asked for public comment and Mr. Garza from Tykes and Teens addressed the board via Zoom. He thanked the Trustees for their diligent work through this budget process and appreciates the work they do in support of healthcare in the community. Mr. Jones called the question and the motion carried 5-1 with Ms. Bodnar in opposition. Mr. Jones asked for a motion to adopt the overall ad valorem budget of $15,694,778. Mr. McCrystal made the motion, which was seconded by Ms. Deigl. The motion carried 5-1 with Ms. Bodnar in opposition. Therefore, Mr. Jones announced publicly that the millage rate, as a percentage of the rolled back rate is 1.65%. Lastly, Mr. Jones stated that the Final Public Budget Hearing of the District to
approve the FY 21-22 budget, will be held on September 23 at 5:01 PM. In the meantime, the Trustees encourage the public to offer comments and suggestions before the budget adoption process is completed.

Public Comment & Adjourn

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