Washington state residents vote down proposed bond to fund public hospital

For the second time, voters have rejected a 20-year public hospital bond for Kirkland, Wash.-based EvergreenHealth, according to The Seattle Times.

The $345 million bond — which would have funded a new critical care unit, an updated maternity center and seismic upgrades to EvergreenHealth's original hospital building in Kirkland — needed a 60 percent margin to pass, according to the newspaper. However, 58.5 percent of voters supported the measure in the August primary election.

EvergreenHealth is an integrated two-hospital health system formed as a public hospital district. 

According to the Times, voters who rejected the bond issue said they did for various reasons, including frustration with the proposed property tax rate as well as questions about whether a public hospital is needed.

The August primary election marked the second time this year that residents have voted on a public hospital bond. 

In EvergreenHealth's April election, the measure would have added 18 cents more per $1,000 of assessed property value over two decades, the Times reported. The tax rate would have remained unchanged under the August measure. 

Another issue in the August election was pushback over a mailer paid for by supporters of the bond measure and sponsored by the Vote Yes Prop 1 Committee and EvergreenHealth Foundation. The mailer, which EvergreenHealth has since apologized for, showed whether individual voters and their neighbors cast ballots in previous elections.

EvergreenHealth said the health system will assess the latest poll results and decide whether to hold another bond election.

 

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