PROPOSITION 3: AN OPINION QUESTION TO IMPOSE A HEALTHCARE FACILITIES SALES AND USE TAX OF UP TO ONE-HALF OF ONE PERCENT TO BE USED AS ALLOWED BY STATE OF UTAH STATUTE
“Shall Grand County, Utah, be impose a healthcare facilities sales and use tax of up to one-half of one percent to be used as allowed by State statute, including to help fund the operations of Canyonlands Care Center — a long-term care facility in Grand County — and to help fund Grand County Emergency Medical Services?”
Argument In Favor
“The Rural County Health Care Facilities Sales Tax is a sales tax on goods and services purchased in Grand County, excluding groceries used in food preparation. The proceeds from this sales tax will benefit non-hospital healthcare in Grand County, specifically Grand County Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and the Canyonlands Care Center, the long term care facility owned by the Canyonlands Health Care Special Service District, (CHCSSD). This is not a property tax and neither entity is supported with Grand County general funds.
This sales tax, if approved by the voters of Grand County, will collect an additional 50 cents per $100 spent (1 penny per $2.00 spent) on goods and services. Estimated total collections from the tax is $1.6 million. A majority of this tax would be paid by visitors.
Emergency Medical Services (911 response and ambulance services) are expected to be available 24 hours a day. EMS has been funded by revenues from patient transports. A 53% increase in calls over the past 10 years, more uninsured patients, and decreases in Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements mean that the cost of providing EMS service is far higher than revenues. Money set aside for replacing and maintaining equipment has been used to cover ongoing costs. The expected shortfall in operating expenses for EMS is $480,000 and funds are needed to build up a capital replacement fund for essential equipment. Permanent changes for funding are needed in order for EMS to continue to provide service to residents and visitors with quality pre-hospital health care and updated equipment to respond to Grand County’s increasing medical first response needs.
Canyonlands Care Center: Our community has supported long term care services for our aging residents for many years. The Canyonlands Care Center, built in conjunction with the new hospital, has provided this service for 148 residents and their families since opening in 2011.
It has been clear for several years that our 36-bed facility cannot cover operating and construction debt expenses with the revenues that come from 2/3 Medicaid and 1/3 private pay residents, even with occupancy over 90%. Mineral lease monies received by Grand County have covered the difference in recent years. However, mineral lease monies have dwindled to a fraction of what they were, and our nursing home needs a dedicated source of funding to remain open.
The 2016 shortfall for Canyonlands Care Center operating expenses and bond payments due on the building is estimated at $970,000. Mineral Lease estimates for 2016 are now $250,000. The shortfall this year can be covered with reserve funds that CHCSSD put aside when Mineral Lease funds were higher; however, reserves will not be able to cover much beyond the end of this year. The Canyonlands Care Center will close without a reliable funding source, displacing dozens of long-time Moab residents. This shortfall includes approximately $370,000 in construction bond payments annually which will continue to be owed by Grand County even if the Canyonlands Care Center is closed.”
PROPOSITION 4: AN OPINION QUESTION TO AUTHORIZE THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF GRAND COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT SUBMISSION OF A VOTED LOCAL LEVY TO THE VOTERS FOR APPROVAL
“Shall the Board of Education (‘Board’) of Grand County School District (the ‘District’) be authorized to impose a voted local levy property tax in the amount of 0.001 per dollar of taxable value for the purpose of funding the general operations and maintenance of the District’s schools and programs?”
“A vote in favor of this tax means that Grand County School District may increase revenue from this property tax without advertising the increase for the next five years. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the tax increase resulting from the approval of this proposition cannot exceed the rate authorized by this proposition.”
Two local propositions will appear on voters’ mail-in general election ballots. Proposition 3 would impose a health care facilities sales and use tax of up to one- half of 1 percent on goods and services purchased in Grand County, excluding groceries used to prepare food. Proposition 4 would impose a voted local levy property tax in the amount of 0.001 per dollar of taxable value to fund the Grand County School District’s general operations and maintenance. Opponents of the two proposals had until Monday, Sept. 26, to submit formal arguments against the propositions, but the county did not receive any counter-arguments by that time, so none will appear on voters’ mail-in ballots, according to Grand County Deputy Clerk Renee Baker.