Valley View Made to Return $4.8 Million to Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital

Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital is asking for $7 million back from Will County taxing bodies since the hospital meets new state standards for tax-exempt status, officials said.

Valley View School District 365U will have to pay back $4.8 million to Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, now that the nonprofit hospital has tax-exempt status from the state of Illinois.

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Will County taxing bodies owe the hospital a total of $7 million, Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital CEO Rick Mace recently wrote in a letter to the hospital's board of directors. The hospital has paid property taxes since it was built in 2008. The $7 million amount represents taxes paid in the past three years. 

"It's going to impact us pretty heavily," Gary Grizaffi, assistant superintendent of administrative services, told the Valley View school board Monday.

Last year, the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation to clarify property tax exemptions for hospitals, Mace wrote. Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital "not only met, but far exceeded" the new requirements, he said.  

"We believed that in our situation, the morally right decision was to pay our taxes, under protest, to Will County in full, letting the county know we were certain the hospital would be recognized as deserving tax-exempt status," Mace wrote. "We fully expected to receive a refund of our tax payment."

Under state law, the hospital can recoup three years worth of property taxes. Grizaffi said the recouping of previously paid property taxes is the "crux of the problem." 

"Moving forward, we'd be okay with the idea that they're now tax-exempt," Grizaffi said. "Going back really leaves us high and dry." 

The bill won't go away, Grizaffi said, and the school district currently has three years to pay back the $4.8 million. Grizaffi said he hopes that time period is "stretched further." 

There is "small solace," he said, in that Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital is waiving a 6 percent interest rate on the $4.8 million. 

Mace wrote that county government leaders are the hospital's partners, he said, and "we have full confidence they will work expeditiously on this effort."

As the board "know(s) well, $7 million is not an insignificant amount," he wrote. 

"It translates into emergency care 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for our community’s most underserved residents. Unfortunately, every dollar tied up elsewhere is a dollar not spent on sick and needy patients. We have conveyed those concerns, and we believe those who serve us have heard."

Moving forward, the hospital still has properties that will be paying taxes, but the hospital portion is exempt. 

In a similar move, Edward Hospital is asking for a $1 million refund from Plainfield School District 202. 

Barbara Palmer March 14, 2013 at 07:05 PM
I suggest that everyone go to the next Valley View School District Board meeting and ask the elected members why they didn't put the money in escrow. If they can't give a straight answer then vote them out. As to Jimmy's comment that public schools could learn something from private schools that would be futile. Private schools can get rid of problem students by expelling them. Public schools have to accept everyone.
Jimmy J March 14, 2013 at 09:47 PM
Public schools waste more money because they rely on a steady stream of tax dollars. They don't exercise good fiscal controls. They spend it like it's "other people's money." Also, the teachers' unions work for the benefit of the unions ..not the students. Private schools have much more going for them than just being able to suspend problem students. Private schools are much better stewards of the funds they have to work with. The results prove it.
Jimmy J March 17, 2013 at 04:56 PM
If we had "School Choice" legislation more parents could choose a school outside of the government provided schools. Contact your legislators and tell them to pass meaningful School Choice legislation.
my opinion March 19, 2013 at 12:45 PM
Doesn't the district have a contract with a lobbying firm? Shouldn't that firm see this legislation coming? If not other than taking the president and vice president out to dinner, what use is this firm? Someone above mentioned holding the money in escrow, isn't that what the district should have done?
Jessica Lynn March 20, 2013 at 01:55 AM
Unfortunately. You must not have been following the valley view news lately. They are getting rid of over 100 teacher aides.... And I won't be the "overpaid, lazy, selfish" (sarcasm) teachers who suffer.... It will be ALL students not jut the students who require that extra assistance DRASTICALLY!


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