CDH, Winfield 'far apart' on funding proposal
Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital and Winfield remain at odds over how much money the hospital should contribute each year to the village.
Village officials for months have been making the case that the 380-bed hospital in downtown Winfield doesn't provide enough annual funding to compensate the municipality for the services it provides, including police and roads.
Last week, CDH President Brian Lemon sent a letter to Village President Erik Spande proposing that the hospital give Winfield a $500,000 yearly grant "to support projects we mutually agree benefit the community while helping the village improve its economic health."
But Winfield trustees on Thursday night rejected the offer, saying they are seeking roughly $1.4 million a year from the hospital.
"We're pleased that CDH put forward an offer," Spande said Monday. "We think it's good basis for future discussion."
Spande had just finished a Monday morning phone conversation with Lemon when a reporter called him, "so the discussions are ongoing," he said.
"Over the past few days, President Spande and I have had several constructive conversations with the hope of finding an alternative solution to this issue," Lemon said in a statement. "We believe it is important to have a meaningful relationship with the village of Winfield, and it's our desire that these discussions will enable us to enhance our partnership with the village."
Meanwhile, Spande said the hospital's offer of $500,000 a year is "pretty far away" from the amount the village believes is reasonable.
Village officials also are concerned because CDH didn't indicate how many years it would be willing to fund the grant.
"We would need some sort of multiyear agreement so we can at least look forward and plan for the coming year as opposed to wondering whether the level of support is going to be there or not," said Spande, adding he has proposed a 10-year deal.
Last week, Lemon said he believed $500,000 was fair and more than covers any direct costs Winfield incurs because of CDH.
But village officials estimate that Winfield spends more than $1 million a year on police, road maintenance and other services for the hospital -- an amount CDH disputes.
"We're pretty far apart," Spande acknowledged. "But we're very pleased that the hospital has come forward with an offer."
Spande said the village board has directed him to continue discussions with Lemon.
"We're willing to compromise," said Spande, adding that he hopes to have the matter resolved soon.
"There are opportunities where we can work together, and this is a big distraction." Spande said. "I think both of us would like to make this go away."
If CDH and Winfield can't reach a deal soon, the village is expected to pursue an advisory question slated to appear on the March 15 primary election ballot.
The ballot question reads: "Should the Winfield Village Board, if the village becomes home rule through a subsequent binding referendum, begin to tax the operations of Central DuPage Hospital (which last year made net profit of $196 million and has billion dollar reserves) so that key Winfield services such as roads and police can be maintained and residential and business property taxes kept in check?"
Trustees have instructed the village clerk to file the question with the county on Wednesday.