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SALE OF ST. BENEDICT’S MEANS MORE TAXES FOR COUNTY, SCHOOLS

SHARE SALE OF ST. BENEDICT’S MEANS MORE TAXES FOR COUNTY, SCHOOLS

The sale of St. Benedict's Hospital and its new tax status will bring in about $480,000 in property taxes for Weber County, about $220,000 of it going to the Weber School District.

But it will not lower the 9.2 percent property tax increase the district just approved.For starters, the county will not begin to collect the money until November 1995, and then will receive only about $100,000 in new funds, officials said.

County Assessor David Haun said the amounts are based strictly on estimates because St. Benedict's has never paid property taxes due to its charitable religious affiliations.

But the newly named Ogden Regional Medical Center is now owned by a for-profit company, HealthTrust Inc. of Nashville, Tenn., and is not tax exempt, he said.

The hospital's sale was finalized last week.

Ned Stephens, school district business administrator, said the new dollars will help cover the costs of growth in elementary schools.

However, he said that based on Haun's estimates, the district will receive only about $100,000 in additional tax money.

That is because the new local tax revenue means the district will collect less in state funding based on the weighted pupil unit, he said.

"But anything that could help our tax base, we'll be happy to deal with," Stephens said.

The school district always has suffered from a low business property-tax base due to the relatively limited number of companies in the area, he said.

Right now, the Weber District collects $852 per student in property taxes, while Ogden, which has a much larger business base, collects $1,142 per student, Stephens said.

The extra funds could be used to issue bonds to build new elementary schools without increasing taxes, he said.

Haun said the medical center will be taxed on its real property, which includes land and improvements, and personal property, which includes equipment and supplies.

St. Benedict's reported it provided about $1.9 million to the community in indigent care yearly.

"What will happen to that, whether the entire thing will come over to the county, I don't know," Haun said.