UMC board meets to discuss possible tax increase

EL PASO, Texas - The University Medical Center board is meeting this afternoon to take action on next year's budget.

A hospital district tax increase looks to be in the works.

UMC is dealing with the financial fallout at El Paso Children's Hospital right next door.

Last Friday, the County hospital announced it was laying off 56 employees.

The board says there's no way Children's Hospital will pay any of what it owes UMC this year, and because of that, UMC faces a $60 million deficit this year.

So, administrators are proposing to raise part of the tax rate by almost 8 percent to help cover the shortfall.

The board decided to take no action. 

Right now taxpayers pay UMC about 21 cents per $100 of home valuation.

That's after the board increased the rate just last year as well.

The owner of an average-valued home pays about $29 per year right now.

UMC says, an 8 percent increase to the maintenance and operations side of the budget would give them $88 million, about $6.4 million more than the current tax rate.

They project that a tax hike, layoffs and attrition, benefits cuts and mandatory furloughs will get the hospital back to $23 million cash on hand by 2015.

The board also is asking the County to approve a $25 million line of credit to help it get through this budget year.

They go before Commissioners Court on Aug. 4.

UMC CEO Jim Valenti told the board this community needs UMC to be successful and he's hoping this will work

Check our newscasts at 6 pm, 9 pm on the CW, and 10 pm for updates on this developing story.

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