HOUSTON COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — A property tax increase is coming to Houston County residents and the tax will go towards Southeast Health to offset rising expenses the hospital has experienced.
The Houston County Healthcare Authority will receive their full 4 mils. After the Houston County Commission approves the rise on Monday, but at Thursday’s meeting, the commissioners still raised questions on the property tax rise.
Currently, Southeast Health receives 2.5 mils and has requested to receive the full amount of four mills from Houston county.
“Amendment 72 says that once the tax is authorized by the citizens of the county, which Houston County did back in the 40s,” Houston County Healthcare Authority, Board Council William Nichols said. “Then the county must and that’s their words not mine must levy and execute the tax.”
A mil is a one-one thousandth of a dollar and represents a tax rate imposed on real estate or other property.
If a property is valued at $100,000 the property tax would go up $15.
The average sales tax per year in Houston County is $340, it could soon be $355.
The Health Care Authority says the decision and need for the increase are due to the skyrocketing cost of contract labor, in this case, nurses.
The federal government’s reduction of the tax reimbursement rate for this area of the country and inflation costs.
“The thing that’s really concerning and from that most recent forecast from our board is that it doesn’t get better,” Southeast Health CFO, Derek Miller said.
Southeast Health hasn’t had to ask for a tax increase since 2011 when the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine was being built.
Then the commission raised the rate from 1 mil to 2.5 mils and now they are asking for the 1.5 mil increase, which the county cannot refuse.
“Our attorney said that we can’t vote against it,” Houston County District 2 Commissioner, Brandon Shoupe said. “That’s what the law says that is what the law is. So we can’t deny their request for the increase.”
The authority has asked for this tax increase to start in the tax year ending in September 30, 2024.
“We are not approving a tax increase I want the citizens to understand,” Houston County Commission Chairman, Mark Culver said. “We are not approving a tax increase. You all voted on this forty years ago to put this on the books. We are just reinstating it.”
The item has been put on the Houston County Commission agenda for their Monday meeting, but the item is set to go through as Culver says that this is an automatic deal.