EDITORIAL: Gift list for our town

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN
We rarely think to include our hometown on our gift-buying list at Christmas, but sometimes opportunities arise to spend money in ways that will benefit an entire city. In Hillsboro, one gift already presented merits attention, while two opportunities exist for individuals or businesses to make a great last-minute “purchase.”

— Downtown Christmas decorations. Thanks to the generosity of the Hillsboro Arts & Crafts Association, residents and visitors are enjoying some beautiful downtown lighting this holiday season. The association selected and purchased 44 new wreaths as a gift to the city at a cost of over $10,000.

The old decorations were too large for the new street poles that were added during the renovation of Main Street. Some of the old wreaths are still in use, but many have been sold. HACA has also purchased new “Welcome” banners that will go up in January. We salute the Arts & Crafts folks for their ongoing generosity to the city.

— Tax credits for the hospital. Not every Christmas gift has to be selfless. Mike Ryan, chief executive officer for Hillsboro Community Medical Center, reports he still has $35,000 in tax credits that he desperately would like to award to individuals or businesses before 2004 runs out.

HCMC was given permission to award around enough tax credits this year to raise about $350,000 capital for a much-needed renovation of the hospital’s front entrance. This project is truly a gift that will keep on giving.

The program enables donors to put their tax dollars to work in Hillsboro rather than Topeka or Washington, D.C. For example, a $1,000 gift will generate for the donor an immediate state income tax reduction of $700. When that gift is claimed as a charitable deduction on the federal return, the actual cost of a $1,000 contribution is only $50 for a donor in the 25 percent tax bracket.

Anyone facing a significant state income tax liability this year really ought to visit with Ryan. At the very least, that person can have the satisfaction of knowing his or her inexpensive gift will benefit the Hillsboro area for years to come.

— A heat-and-smoke detecting camera for the fire department. The newly formed Hillsboro Community Foundation needs only $3,500 to complete the fund-raising goal of $16,000 for that much-needed camera for the local fire department. Your tax-deductible gift to HCF could actually save lives. What greater satisfaction could there be than that?

If you have other projects you’d like to fund as well, HCF is waiting to offer you a tax-deductible opportunity to do so.

Gift opportunities like these aren’t for everybody, but don’t assume they’re not for you. -DR

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