Voters approve $98 million hospital bond
After waiting nearly an hour at Moody’s Restaurant in Truckee Tuesday night, anxious Measure C proponents erupted in cheers when results came in from Placer and Nevada counties.
Seventy-two percent of the 6,782 hospital district voters who cast a mail-in ballot supported the $98.5 million bond measure.
The Tahoe Forest Hospital District measure passed with more than the required two-thirds majority, based on a semi-official count. County election officials will confirm the results in the next few weeks after all the provisional ballots that were cast have been counted.
The bond measure will fund state-mandated seismic retrofits, along with renovations to emergency care, an expansion of the cancer center, and renovation or replacement of long-term care.
“From here it’s pretty straightforward,” said Bob Schapper, the hospital district’s chief executive officer. “We pull together interested members of the community for an oversight committee ” objective representatives of the community ” to begin to do the hard work ahead of us.”
Maia Schneider, director of the Tahoe Forest Hospital Foundation, said applications to fill the citizen’s oversight committee should be available in about 30 days, and appointments will be made in 90 days from the election.
“Some of the positions will be filled by professionals in fields like construction and financing, others will be open positions,” Schneider said. “They will be appointed by the district board.”
Committee members will keep the public informed about how the bond is being spent, and have oversight of the projects being funded, Schneider said.
She said hospital administrators will focus the next nine months to one year on an intense planning process to identify the projects to be funded with the bond measure.
“The order of projects hasn’t been completely determined yet, but one deadline is critical with the 2013 seismic retrofits ” the other phases will follow that,” Schneider said.
Construction could begin in a year once planning is complete, which is when the hospital will first start seeing funding from the bond, Schneider said.
“We will start getting money next year, and we aren’t releasing the bonds at once, probably over three to five years or so,” she explained.
Meantime, Schneider said the canvass period, during which election officials collect and count provisional ballots cast after the mail-in deadline, should take a couple of weeks.
“I don’t think the results will change, but Placer County’s uncounted weekend votes are the wild card,” Schneider said. “But I am confident the election will stand.”
While no organized opposition against Measure C surfaced during the campaign, Schapper said he had his concerns during the election, but said he was pleased with the show of community trust.
“A public hospital is a public trust, and we take our responsibility to the community very seriously,” Schapper said.
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