California Healthline Highlights News on Hospital Bond Measures
The Riverside County Registrar of Voters has deleted part of the "Rebuttal to Yes on Measure I," written by a Menifee resident, because bond supporters said the rebuttal misrepresented the measure, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
Measure I would increase property taxes within the Valley Health System by $17.99 per $100,000 of assessed property value. The bond, which requires two-thirds approval to pass, would fund renovations and expansions of Hemet Valley Medical Center and Menifee Valley Community Hospital and refinance old debt.
The deleted section of the rebuttal said, "Once the tax rates are set, new families moving into the district will pay the same rate. There appears to be no public law and no need for VHS to lower the rate as more families move into the district."
William Cherry, a VHS board member and a petitioner in a lawsuit filed to remove the statement, said if the bond is approved, families moving into the area would be taxed at the existing rate and costs would be lowered as the tax is spread among more people.
The Registrar of Voters must receive completed ballots by Sept. 19 (Atienza, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/6).
Ninety-three percent of voters in the Peninsula Health Care District voted to approve Measure V, a lease agreement that will allow Mills-Peninsula Health Services to construct a $488 million hospital on publicly owned land, the Oakland Tribune reports.
Mills-Peninsula decided to rebuild Peninsula Medical Center rather than make seismic upgrades to the current facility. However, the health care district needed voter approval to authorize a 50-year lease agreement.
Mills-Peninsula hopes to open the 243-bed hospital early in 2010. Construction has already begun on a new garage.
Peninsula Guardians, a citizens' watchdog group, sued to stop the election, claiming that the 50-year lease is illegal and it must be shortened to 30 years.
Guardians Director Dan Andersen said the group might file a new lawsuit if concerns about the lease are not addressed.
Mills-Peninsula will pay the cost of building a new hospital and will pay $1.5 million annually in rent (Kinney, Oakland Tribune, 8/30).
Voters in the Tri-City Health District will vote Nov. 7 on Proposition T, a $596 million bond measure to fund renovations and expansion at Tri-City Medical Center, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The measure is similar to Proposition F, a measure on the June ballot that received 65.9% approval but needed two-thirds of the vote to pass.
The initiative would levy a $23.40 tax per $100,000 of assessed value of district residents' properties. The health care district encompasses most of Carlsbad, Oceanside and Vista.
The funds would be used to expand the square footage of the hospital, build two new towers with 335 beds and expand the number of operating rooms and recovery areas. Beds also would be added to the intensive care unit, and an urgent care and observation area would be created.
Proposition T includes more specifics about costs, construction and timelines than the failed measure and would establish an independent citizens' oversight committee to oversee spending.
Proponents of the measure say it is needed for the hospital to meet state seismic safety standards and to accommodate a growing population (Rodriguez, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/6).