How the LIHD Spends Your Property Taxes

At the recent Community Conversation, participants wanted to know more about the LIHD budget process and how funds are spent. The Lopez Island Hospital District is required by RCW 70.44.060(6) to hold a public hearing on the proposed annual budget. The process begins late summer when the Superintendent prepares an initial draft budget for Board consideration. After review at several Regular Meetings, a proposed budget is submitted to the Board on or before November 1st. The District then holds a public hearing on or before November 15th, with notice published once a week for two consecutive weeks in the Islands’ Weekly. We also post a Notice on the website, which will look similar to what was posted for the 2019 Budget & Levy Hearing.

At the hearing, the Superintendent presents the detailed budget, and any taxpayer may appear and be heard. Following the hearing, the Board adopts the annual budget by Resolution. All budget materials can be found on the Budgets, Agreements & Governing Documents tab, and the 2020 Budget hearing is scheduled to take place on November 6, 2019.

Almost three-quarters of funds collected from property taxes go towards support of the UW Medicine Lopez Island Clinic (UW) and Lopez Island Physical Therapy. On the same tab mentioned above, you’ll find the UW Medicine Agreement for Clinical Support and the proposed budget for fiscal year 2020, as well as the Lopez Island Physical Therapy Agreement.

The current UW Agreement runs for the three-year period beginning October 1, 2017 and ending October 1, 2020. It established annual funding caps to cover the expected operating loss, which is largely due to the size and demographics of the Lopez island population. Unlike urban areas where there is a large percentage of individuals covered by an employer plan, only 19% of Lopezians are covered by an employer. The majority of Lopezians (72%) are covered by governmental payers which include Medicare (55%) and Medicaid (17%).

The LIHD Board and Superintendent continue to work closely with our health care partners to ensure all Lopezians have access to high quality, island-appropriate care now and into the future.

Our next post will cover ways the District engages with the community, including HealthMatters 2.0.