| The Daytona Beach News-Journal
For the first time in 13 years, the Halifax Hospital Taxing District has raised its taxes, a unanimous decision made during the final tax and budget meeting Wednesday evening.
The Halifax Hospital Taxing District Board of Commissioners voted to adopt the final tax rate of $0.98 per $1,000 taxable dollars, which will bring in $19.6 million.
[READ MORE: Halifax Hospital Taxing District approves tax increase, cites rise in free services]
This means the owner of a $175,000 homesteaded house will be taxed $82.44 dollars a year or $1.75 a week, according to the hospital system.
The final tax rate is a 193.3% increase from the rolled back rate, which would have brought in the same amount of tax dollars as the previous year of $0.33 per $1,000 taxable dollars.
Even with the tax increase, the Halifax Health Taxing District will collect about $19 million — less than half of the $52 million it received from taxes in 2007. Since 2007, the taxing district has been steadily decreasing the tax rate each year.
But they went too far down, according to Jeff Feasel, Halifax Health president and CEO, and were unable to financially support all of the programs with last year’s budget.
This year, the taxes still won’t be enough to pay all of the unpaid medical bills Halifax Health must cover — a problem that’s only worsened in the last 13 years as a result of previous annual tax cuts and an increase in the amount of people who need free health care. And the financing challenge has only been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Even with this year’s increase, the hospital system will still pay for over $58.5 million in uncompensated care, which it helps pay for with other revenue streams.