Monday, May 16, 2022

Hospital tax levy approved by county, state

Staff Writer | December 15, 2021 1:00 AM

▶️ Listen to this article now.

SANDPOINT — The Pend Oreille Hospital District 2022 budget was found to be lawful by state tax officials despite a written complaint earlier this month by a district trustee.

Daniel Rose, a POHD trustee, submitted a complaint to multiple county agencies stating that the county overstepped its legal authority by processing the hospital’s budget request. The complaint was forwarded to the Idaho State Tax Commission for review.

The budget request focuses on the hospital’s ability to impose a 3% property tax levy. The approved levy for the district’s 2022 budget is $1,390,506.

In his complaint, Rose alleged that the most recent levy proposal is unlawful.

Known formally as a dollar budget request, or L-2 for short, Rose alleged that the report was submitted to the county after the deadline, was over the upper legal monetary threshold, and only had approval from the hospital district treasurer — as opposed to the entire board’s approval.

Rose cited multiple sections from Idaho Code 39 and 63, alleging that hospital treasurer, Jim Frank, single-handedly submitted the budget request to the county for approval on Sept. 3, even though the request is to be approved by a majority of the hospital board. Rose also alleges that the county overstepped its legal authority by amending the budget request so it could comply with other laws addressing how much the budget is allowed to levy.

Also according to Rose, the budget request was also submitted three days after the deadline.

Alan Dornfest, the tax commission’s property tax policy bureau chief, responded to Rose’s complaint on Tuesday, saying the POHD budget meets state requirements. Despite the trustee’s claim the request was submitted late, Dornfest said it was actually submitted six days ahead of the Sept. 9 deadline. Dornfest also noted that the tax commission has no authority over the hospital district’s procedures before anything is submitted to the county.

“We did not find any excessive budgets or levies with regard to this hospital district,” Dornfest said a two-page letter sent to Rose, hospital and county officials and to local media. “Our primary responsibility is to only approve budgets and levies that do not exceed any limitation provided by law.”

“In accordance with our authority, we approved the levy for this hospital district. … Based on our analysis we do not find any unauthorized levy for this district.”

Hospital district officials had no comment on Rose's complaint of the tax commission's findings.