Commissioners Kill Property Tax Increase to Fund UMC - 8 News NOW

Commissioners Kill Property Tax Increase to Fund UMC

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Inside UMC's trauma center. Inside UMC's trauma center.

LAS VEGAS -- Property taxes in Clark County won't be going up for the time being.

Tuesday morning, county commissioners voted against a property tax hike that would have funneled much-needed cash into University Medical Center, the valley's only public hospital.

Hospital leaders are now scrambling to find a way to fund the hospital before the end of the year.

UMC is anticipating big losses and need to find a consistent way to bring in money.

The Affordable Care Act goes into effect Jan. 1, giving nearly everyone access to health insurance.

UMC, however, is slated to lose as much as $50 million over the next five years, leaving them looking for other options.

The hospital needs money not just to provide for basic services, but also to stay competitive.

"We have to carve out some pockets of excellence that make it worth it for people to drive across the valley to come to UMC," UMC CEO Brian Brannman said.

Clark County commissioners proposed the property tax hike to help UMC's budget, but ultimately voted against it Tuesday.

"We have to prioritize what we're going to fund, what we're not going to fund," Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak said.

Commissioners said they will spend the next year talking with the community to figure out what residents think and where they stand in how to spend tax dollars to fund the hospital.

"We need to leave no stone unturned," Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly said. "We need to either agree or disagree. We need to talk about all options out there so we can find a dedicated revenue stream to help the hospital."

Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani added, "You never change anything politically unless you have the political will to discuss it. And that's part of what we started today."

Meantime, leaders at UMC are searching on their own for ways to raise money, including federal grants and asking residents to contribute with private donations for specialized care.

"Hopefully, if we can develop some programs that are attractive, whether it be transplant, they've talked about robotic surgery, that we can entice them to want to give back to our community," Brannman said.

Although that would not solve all of the hospital's financial woes, Brannman said this is a viable option moving forward.

County commissioners will start revising the budget again in a little less than a year.

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