This comes after Halifax health spent a total of $120 million to settle a whistle-blower lawsuit. Much of that amount was spent on legal fees.
Channel 9’s Lori Brown has learned that Halifax Health is proposing a tax rate that increase property owners’ taxes by 5 percent.
Recently Halifax officials assured the community that they would not increase taxes. Now the proposed rate has some people crying foul.
Unlike most hospitals in the country taxpayers help keep the doors open at Halifax Hospital.
That’s why some were outraged that WFTV Channel 9 had to file a lawsuit to find out just how much the hospital was spending on attorneys to fight a whistleblower lawsuit. That amount came to $24.3 million, rates of $700 and $900 per hour. One law firm received $350,000 each month for four years.
Now the hospital’s board is set to approve a millage rate of $1 per $1,000 of assessed value. For a $250,000 property that means $250.
While the tax rate is the same, because property values are up this year, taxpayers will be forking over 5 percent more to the hospital.
“The fact they are raising revenues at this time, after assuring the community they would not, is a bit shocking,” said Ed Connor, with Volusia County Tax Watch.
Connor said he believes the hospital taxing district needs to be eliminated.
“With a city or county, you have the recourse of a ballot box, with a hospital board, they’re appointed, so we don’t have any recourse, they can do what they want,” said Connor.
Halifax Health wound up settling the lawsuit for $85 million. The suit alleged Halifax was putting profits over patients. The Department of Justice alleged the hospital performed unnecessary surgeries on patients to receive more Medicare payments.
A public hearing will be held Monday to consider the tentative millage rate.
A hospital representative said they have steadily lowered the millage rate in the past and have one of the lowest hospital taxing rates in Volusia County