The New River Medical Center Hospital District Board met Thursday morning to certify their levy for $300,000 for 2013. “This is lower than the five-year plan approved by the board of directors,” said Finance Director Nancy Friesen. “In addition, it is well below the $1.5 million that was estimated in September, 2012.” “At that time, we were projecting a significant year-end loss,” Friesen said. “Thanks to the commitment of our leadership and staff in reducing hours, rebidding positions, reducing overtime and taking on additional responsibilities, we were able to cut expenses and minimize that loss.” Although CentraCare has agreed to make the debt service payments the hospital owes, levying the $300,000 will allow some flexibility in the event not all taxes are paid in a timely manner, Friesen said. Hospital district residents should see a decrease in their property tax bills for the hospital district, rather than an increase, says New River spokesperson Joni Pawelk. The levy is still required to comply with bond requirements for long-term debt. “We are very pleased that our final tax certification was much lower than we originally projected, Friesen said. “Our leadership and staff deserve the thanks. Without their efforts we would not have seen this reduction. Among the efforts made is CEO Marshall Smith’s willingness to surrender 10% of his salary this year. Smith also received no bonus, (it was incorrectly reported last week he had received $20,000, which was in fact the amount he received last year), reducing his $340,000 salary and benefit package to $260,000 plus benefits this year. Affiliation Bob Esse, now on the transaction committee, reported having a very positive meeting with CentraCare executives last Friday. “We gave them our list of must-haves,” Esse said. “Now the attorneys are going to put it all into document form and we will meet again in mid-January. It was the first of several meetings.” CentraCare Attorney Paul Harris agreed with Esse that things had gone well between them. “Now we are dealing more specifically with the must-haves.” he said. “We are continuing to stress the need to keep moving forward and bring the process to a conclusion,” said Board Member Sheldon Johnson. CEO Smith will likely remain in charge at NRMC, even under CentraCare governance. “All our contracts are transferable,” he said.