Approval likely for tax break extension at Flossmoor’s Ingalls facility

Flossmoor village board members are expected to approve an additional property tax break for the local Ingalls Family Care Center.
 
Following a presentation Monday by two Ingalls officials, there were no objections to a continuation of the Family Care Center's Class 8 tax incentive, which was first approved when property for the facility was annexed in 2004. Mayor Paul Braun polled village board members to see if any object to a continued tax break for Ingalls, which will require six of seven members — including Braun — to vote for the measure.
 
A vote on the tax break is expected at the Dec. 4 board meeting.
 
The Class 8 incentive is offered by Cook County but must be approved by local municipalities to go into effect. It allows municipalities to approve a lower property tax rate for commercial real estate. The tax break is in effect for a specific period of time and, upon expiration, must be renewed by the municipality.
 
Under its current Class 8 status, the tax assessment level for the Family Care Center is set at 10 percent of fair market value. Without the tax break, that assessment level would climb to 25 percent, which would mean considerably higher taxes for the facility at 19550 Governors Highway.
 
Linda Conway, associate general counsel for Ingalls, was asked if the higher tax rate would make it more difficult for the health center to remain in Flossmoor.
 
“It’s hard to say what the future holds,” she said. “The hospital operates on a very slim margin.”
 
Flossmoor village officials have traditionally rejected requests for extensions of Class 8 tax status, arguing that the incentive — after the initial period when it’s granted — becomes a subsidy to businesses that must be borne by local taxpayers.
 
However, Braun said he was in favor of the renewal of Class 8 status for Ingalls because of all the services that the health center provides to Flossmoor and neighboring communities.
 
“This is different,” he said.
 
Michael Hicks, Ingalls’ senior vice president and chief operating officer, said the Family Health Center includes private medical offices and that area residents make thousands of visits to the facility each year. There are 230 employees at the Flossmoor center and 1,400 people work at all Ingalls facilities across the South Suburbs.
 
The Family Health Center offers a full range of outpatient services, as well as an urgent care facility.  
 
“We serve a key need in the community,” Hicks said. Ingalls ranks among the state’s top health systems in offering services to persons most in need of care, he said.
 
Under the proposed Class 8 extension, Ingalls will continue to reimburse Flossmoor so that the village receives its full share of property taxes at the 25 percent assessment level. That arrangement was included in the 2004 annexation agreement. In 2016, Ingalls reimbursed Flossmoor $83,489 in tax money and has made total payments of $337,351 to the village since 2006.
 
Ingalls merged with the University of Chicago health system in October 2016. According to a rebranding initiative that was announced two months ago, the hospital system is now known as UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial.
 
However, Ingalls still maintains a local board of directors and has representation on the UChicago Medicine Board. 

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