Hospital bond measure gains ballot |

Hospital bond measure gains ballot

Ryan Salm/Sierra SunVisitors to Tahoe Forest Hospital make their way toward one of the building's newer wings. The hospital wants to refurbish some of its aging facilities in Truckee with a $98 million bond measure.

A mail-in election in September will ask voters to decide on a new Truckee hospital bond measure.

On Tuesday, the boards of supervisors for both Nevada and Placer Counties approved placing the $98 million bond measure before voters.

Combined with a previous approval by the Tahoe Forest Hospital District board of directors, the board votes were necessary to qualify the measure for the ballot.

If passed by a two-thirds majority of voters, the measure would authorize the hospital to issue a $98 million bond to perform seismic retrofits, bringing the buildings up to California earthquake standards. The hospital district will have to reimburse both counties for the cost of holding the election.

“Some people think this general obligation bond is being forced on them, but with the election the people will get to decide,” said Nevada County Supervisor Ted Owens.

Executive Director Maia Schneider of the Tahoe Forest Hospital Foundation said the ballot would go out in the mail late in August, and the election period would end on Sept. 25.

While the hospital district is still waiting for estimates of the election’s cost, Schneider said a mail-in election should keep costs low by saving the expense of staffing polling places.

Gregory Diaz, the newly appointed Nevada County clerk, said he does not yet know how much the mail ballot will cost, but the supervisors’ vote requires the district to repay the county.

If passed, the bond would require property owners to pay about $9 per $100,000 of assessed property value per year, over a 30-year period, Schneider said.

The bond would likely begin in January 2008, and be issued over a five year period, Schneider said. She added that a group called Friends of the Tahoe Forest Hospital has formed to actively campaign for the bond measure.

“They’ve got a lot of work ahead of them, and they only have about 78 days left,” Schneider said Wednesday.

Along with the seismic work, additional improvements would include a new emergency room, long-term care and cancer facilities, Schneider said.

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