Lake Chelan’s hospital bond is in trouble
Originally published August 7, 2012 at 10:31p.m., updated August 8, 2012 at 11:37a.m.View full version
CHELAN — Officials at the Lake Chelan Community Hospital are hoping that late returns in Tuesday’s primary election change the outcome of a bond issue that would help build a new hospital.
“We’re still holding out to see the final count,” said CEO Kevin Abel, adding, “It’s going to be an uphill battle.”
The hospital bond captured 57.7 percent, but needs 60 percent to pass with 1,622 votes cast so far, according to the first vote tally Tuesday.
Abel said he hasn’t seen figures showing how many people in the hospital district voted, but with a countywide vote tally of 33 percent, “there’s still either a lot of votes that haven’t been counted, or not many people voted.”
He said hospital officials have not determined what to do if it fails. Two previous attempts to pass much larger bond issues failed to get the 60 percent supermajority required. Those efforts in November 2006 and again in August 2007 would have remodeled the existing hospital with a $33 million bond.
This proposal for a $19 million bond would be part of a financing package to build a new $30 million hospital in a new location with room to expand.
The existing 40-year-old hospital is deemed too small, in need of serious repairs, and plagued by parking problems, with many employees parking in neighborhood streets.
The new facility would be built on 12 acres in the Apple Blossom Center, which the hospital bought in 2009, and could be ready for patients by the spring of 2015.
The plan includes borrowing $9 million with the hospital’s own debt capacity, relying on the hospital foundation, grants and reserves to raise $2 million, and asking voters for the remaining $19 million in the primary.
Christine Pratt: 665-1173