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updated: 6/4/2013 5:27 AM

Edward to collect $2.2 million from District 203 levy

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Despite talks between Naperville Unit District 203, Edward Hospital and DuPage County Treasurer Gwen Henry, the entire $2.2 million owed to Edward, as a result of a 2012 change in state law, will come from the district's upcoming levy.

According to Henry, Naperville Unit District 203 owes Edward Hospital $2,234,107.90 as a result of a new law that allows nonprofit hospitals to be exempt from local property taxes if they can show that they have done charitable work equal to or more than the property taxes they would otherwise owe.

The changes also allow hospitals to claim property tax refunds for the three years prior to the law's passage.

"(Henry) believes she is legally obligated to withhold the money from the upcoming levy, as the law is written," said Superintendent Dan Bridges.

Edward Vice President of Marketing and Government Relations Brian Davis has maintained the hospital has routinely paid property taxes on all of its parcels with the understanding that money would be refunded if and when the exemption were to be approved.

School board member Mike Jaensch said he is disappointed the hospital "isn't going to give any ground on taking" the money back.

"We legally and responsibly collected the necessary property taxes to continue our fiscally prudent financial plan going forward, while also abating $3 million for the referendum debt levy. Now Edward is going to go back, retroactively, to collect $2.2 million that we legally and conservatively levied," Jaensch said.

"The bottom line is this thing is coming from our property tax payers for this years funding and we either have to make it up with additional taxes to our community or take it out of our budget to our students. I don't think either option is very good."

Jaensch and fellow board member Susan Crotty urged the public to be vocal in their feelings about the change.

School board Vice President Terry Fielden, however, said he believes the state legislature is at fault for creating the problem.

"The bottom line is (Edward) wouldn't be taking the money back if it wasn't legally possible for them to do that," Fielden said. "It's more of a case of the state taking money out of our pocket and not allowing us to recover it. the legislature has to take some responsibility here too."

The school district's debt is by far the largest, given it is the largest recipient of tax dollars. But other local taxing bodies who will be repaying the hospital include the city of Naperville, Naperville Township, the Naperville Park District, the Naperville Library, DuPage County, the DuPage County Forest Preserve District, and the College of DuPage.

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