OTHS officials learned last week OSF St. Elizabeth Medical Center and St. Mary’s Health Care, both located in Ottawa, were granted tax exempt status based on the amount of charity care each entity distributed.
Superintendent Matt Winchester said the sudden loss in revenue caused the administration to readjust the district’s 2013-2014 budget before it was officially passed by a unanimous vote Monday during a regular board meeting.
“We continue to hold the line on expenses but we keep experiencing losses in revenue,” Winchester said. “We really have a revenue problem at this point.”
The tax exemptions are retroactive dating back three years. Winchester estimates future losses will cause the district to lose about $70,000 each year in funding.
Still, this could not have come at a more inopportune time for the district.
The district has a deficit of $2.8 million. It will use working cash to cover the deficit this year. But next year, the district will be down to $2.9 million in the bank.
Winchester said the district is exploring options it may have such as filing a property tax appeal.
In the meantime, administration and faculty officials will hold deficit reduction meetings to research ways to cut costs and boost revenue.
“We only have about $2.9 million left,” Winchester said. “We’ll have to look at all of our options soon.”
Kevin Caufield can be reached at (815) 220-6932 or firstname.lastname@example.org.