People shocked by possible tax increase to keep NHRMC independent

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — At Thursday’s Partnership Advisory Group meeting, according to an assessment done by a financial consultant, keeping the hospital independent and financially stable could mean raising property taxes as much as 68%.

That number has people talking.

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“If someone told me if you don’t sell this hospital, your taxes are going to go up 68%,” President of Save Our Hospital Gene Merritt said. “And I didn’t know any better, I think that would worry me a great deal.”

Merritt says that number is shocking.

“Which quite frankly leads me to believe this is some form of scare tactic to try to scare us into selling or partnering the hospital,” he said.

The potential increase in property taxes would fund existing gaps and potential gaps in the future.

Some of that includes maintaining 215 days of cash on hand and a 3% operating margin.

Added financial impacts could come in the loss of $90,000,000 annually from two separate programs. One helps rural hospitals and the other allows health care facilities to buy medications at a discount.

Merritt still wonders why this is coming out now.

“For them to just come up here and make these statements is fairly shocking,” he said.

There will be a public hearing on the hospital’s future at the Historic New Hanover County Courthouse on April 13 at 6 p.m.