Voters extend parcel tax to support hospital

Posted on March 6, 2012 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Measure A, which extends a parcel tax to raise $2.8 million annually for Sonoma Valley Hospital, has been approved by 73 percent of voters.

The $195 tax, levied on property parcels of all sizes, both commercial and residential, is now in place for another five years.

“It feels great,” said Bill Hutchinson, chair of the Yes on A committee, after the results were announced Tuesday night. “The main thing is, we have a wonderful hospital and people get it. They know it’s a valuable part of the community.”

Just over 10,000 people, about half of the area’s registered voters, took part in the mail-only election. Measure A was the only item on the ballot.

A two-thirds majority was needed to pass the extension. “We’re almost six points above where we needed to be,” Hutchinson said. “The Valley really turned out.”

The parcel tax, then $130, was first approved in 2002 with 74 percent of the vote. A similar majority approved an extension in 2007 at $195.

“People want a hospital here, they want an emergency room here,” Hutchinson said.

Hospital administrators have said that the much-needed revenue is critical to maintaining emergency room and acute care, birthing and operating rooms and other services.

The election was commissioned by the hospital more than $100,000. The cost of the campaign in support was paid for by funds raised privately by the parcel tax committee.

Supporters said they initiated the mail-only ballot so that if the measure had failed, there would have been time to place it on the June election ballot.

“People want a hospital here, they want an emergency room here,” Hutchinson said.

Parcel tax revenue cannot be used for capital improvements. The major renovation project now underway at the Andrieux street facility is funded by a $35 million bond issue approved by voters in 2008.

See related letter on page 10.

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