Hospital bond measure to appear on ballot

June 13, 2008 12:11:02 PM PDT
During their annual budget hearings this week, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved placing an $840 million bond measure on the November ballot to finance the seismic upgrade of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

In addition to the upgrading on the medical center, $50 million of the bond funds would be used for establishing a future medical facility in downtown San Jose to replace the shuttered San Jose Hospital.

Under a state law passed in 1994, Valley Medical Center must be seismically upgraded by between 2013 and 2015 so it can remain standing during a major earthquake or it would have to close half its beds.

"I cannot emphasize enough how critical and important this is. Santa Clara Valley Medical Center is critical to the local hospital network," County Executive Pete Kutras said. "If we do not become seismically compliant, we will lose half of our beds. This includes trauma, burn, spinal cord injury and many other services vital to the community's health."

The bond measure would add almost $14 per $100,000 of assessed value to the property tax bill of county homeowners in its first year and approximately $13 in subsequent years. The average additional cost for homeowners would be $65.05 the first year and $61.14 thereafter based on a county average home value assessment of $468,000.

"I believe this is something that the voters will support. Many residents may not know what the county does but they know what a hospital does," Supervisor Ken Yeager said.

The measure would have to be approved by two-thirds of county voters. The supervisors must approve the bond measure at a second reading on June 24 before it is placed on the November ballot.


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