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CCHS adopts 2021 budget; capital projects in the works


November 19, 2020

DAYTON–Columbia County Health System (CCHS) held a special board meeting to hold two public hearings for the approval of a request for a 1% levy tax increase, as well as the adoption of the 2021 budget.

The Ordinance Resolution 5-2020 for a 1% tax levy increase was presented before the Board to be adopted and was approved. This increase amounts to $6,967 which is within CCHS’s right for 1% levy appropriations, according to Washington State statute, reflecting collections from last year’s operations totaling $696,738, as verified from the County Assessor.

That amount has already been included in the 2021 Budget and if it does not pass, the budget would have to be amended from the tax base. The levy request will be forwarded to the Columbia County Commissioners for approval.

The 2021 proposed $30 million budget was presented in Resolution 6-2020 to be adopted. Tom Meyers, Controller presented some information to be discussed with the Board.

The Dental Program and Assisted Living Project was not included because it is not currently operational. The programs will have their own expenses of around a few hundred thousand dollars, which will bring in revenue. The budget presented is the operating budget. When the projects become operational, the Board can adopt a revised budget or work within the current one.

Because of the drop in volumes during the COVID lockdown, the administration is “cautiously optimistic that we can reclaim our levels of service from the 2019 counts. “What we are seeing in our current and recent operations that have been strong numbers, so we think we can have higher numbers in 2021 than what we had in 2020,” according to Meyers.

The 2021 insurance premiums for employees will not increase, so the administration has “chosen to improve the rates we pass on to employees, primarily family and children coverage. We give them an opportunity to put their families on where they couldn’t probably afford to do that earlier,” Meyers said.

A suggested list was included in the budget of items of capital projects to be considered for proposals within the 2021 budget, or with additional funding.

With the Coronavirus ongoing, the CARES funds and the ever-changing guidance for use of them from the Department of Health and Human Services, Accountant Matt Minor said, “We couldn’t necessarily budget on the exact amount of grant funds we are going to receive from CARES, versus what they are going to take back from us in 2021.” Therefore, the continual impact of COVID is not reflected in the budget.

The Board voted to approve the 2021 Budget, as presented.


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