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Contra Costa County, CA May 6, 2014 Election
Measure C
Parcel Tax for Medical Services
West Contra Costa Healthcare District

Parcel Tax - 2/3 Approval Required
Failed--fewer than 2/3 voted yes

Fail: 17,703 / 52.0% Yes votes ...... 16,347 / 48.0% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text

To maintain local emergency room care and continue to provide critical medical services, such as intensive care, care for heart attacks, emergency respiratory care and cancer treatment, shall the West Contra Costa Healthcare District be authorized to levy an annual special tax of fourteen cents per square foot of building area per parcel, with annual audits by an independent oversight committee?

Impartial Analysis from the County Counsel
COUNTY COUNSEL'S IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS OF MEASURE C The Board of Directors of the West Contra Costa Healthcare District has adopted a resolution proposing a parcel tax (a qualified special tax). This ballot measure asks voters to decide whether a parcel tax should be imposed on parcels of real property located within the District beginning July 1, 2014.

If this measure passes, a parcel tax of 14 cents per square foot of total building area, excluding residential carports, would be levied on each parcel of taxable real property within the District beginning July 1, 2014. The measure states that the total building area on each parcel of taxable real property would be determined based on information from the Contra Costa County Assessor, or, if that information is missing from the Assessor's records, from the records of the building department of the jurisdiction in which the property is located. The measure states that the parcel tax would expire if Doctor's Medical Center and its Emergency Room permanently close.

A parcel of taxable real property is any unit of real property located in the District that receives a separate property tax bill from the Contra Costa County Treasurer-Tax Collector's Office. The parcel tax would not be levied on parcels that are exempt from paying property taxes.

The ballot measure states that the proceeds from the parcel tax will be used for capital improvement expenditures and debt repayment, and to defray operating expenses. Proceeds from the parcel tax may be used only for the specific purposes set forth in the ballot measure and according to constitutional and statutory provisions.

State law requires the District's chief fiscal officer to file an annual report with the District's Board of Directors that states the amount of funds received and expended in each year and the status of any projects required or authorized to be funded with parcel tax proceeds. State law also requires the proceeds from the parcel tax to be deposited into a designated account. The measure states that an independent citizens' oversight committee will review annual audits and report to the Board of Directors and the public on the expenditure of parcel tax proceeds.

Two-thirds of those voting on the ballot measure must approve the measure for it to pass.

A "yes" vote is a vote in favor of authorizing the parcel tax.

A "no" vote is a vote against authorizing the parcel tax.

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Arguments For Measure C Arguments Against Measure C
Vote yes on Measure C to keep Doctors Medical Center and its emergency room open. We must save our local ER and hospital from closing.

If you're in an accident or hurt, you need immediate medical care. If you have a stroke or heart attack, you need to get to a hospital fast. In West County, an ambulance will take you to the ER at Doctors Medical Center (DMC), even if you're a Kaiser member. But what if DMC wasn't there anymore? 40,000 patients visit DMC's ER every year. Where will they go?

Without DMC's ER, patients will be diverted to other hospitals much farther away. Kaiser's ER only has 15 beds and may have to serve 100 additional patients a day, forcing wait times as long as 10 hours. This is unacceptable and dangerous.

Seconds count in an emergency and extra travel time could mean the difference between full recovery, long-term disability or even death.

DMC is the stroke and heart attack center for all West County. It's our only public emergency room, serving all residents. The hospital provides free breast cancer screening for low-income women and free health screenings for seniors.

If we don't pass this measure, DMC and its emergency room will close. We will lose the emergency services that are essential to any community and that we all need.

The hospital has cut costs, reduced overhead, and eliminated management positions. Government reimbursements continue to decline, so while the cost of care is going up, the money DMC receives is going down.

The choice for voters in West County is clear. Vote yes to keep the hospital and its emergency room open. Vote no and our hospital and ER will permanently close, creating a healthcare catastrophe.

Vote YES on Measure C. Mail in your ballot today.

Desmond Carson MD, Emergency Room Physician

Humayun Tufail M.D., Chief of Hospitalist Services

Laura Baeza, Emergency Department Nurse

John Gioia, Contra Costa County Supervisor

Vern Whitmore, Incoming President, Richmond Chamber of Commerce

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Measure C proponents continue to claim that Doctors Hospital will close if County residents fail to pass parcel taxes. But simply giving them more money won't change the fact that this facility is losing money faster than business and homeowners can keep up with.

  • This parcel tax does not fix the basic financial problems of this hospital

  • The hospital has been bailed out numerous times by the State, the County, and 2 parcel taxes. DMC has borrowed and received millions from other sources, yet it is still unable to operate profitably

  • The people of West County are already the most heavily taxed of any in the county + A third tax will not solve DMC's financial woes

  • No one is exempt from the rising costs imposed by this tax. Even renters will see rents increase as property owners pass this increase on to them

  • At least half of the area of this hospital district is as close to the Martinez County hospital emergency room as to the Doctor's ER

  • Don't believe proponent's fear tactics - this hospital will not close. It can go into bankruptcy as it did in 2006 + in spite of getting the 2004 parcel tax revenue + and stay open

Don't buy into all the hype!

Force hospital management to downsize and be financially sustainable!

Vote NO on Measure C!

Larry A. Kauble, Home Owner El Sobrante

Michel Y. Rehayem, Home Owner

Zygmunt Deutschman, Homeowner

Jim Fitzgerald, Home Owner

Charlotte Rodeen-Dickert, Home Owner

Doctors Hospital has had a financially unsustainable revenue stream for decades. What this hospital needs is a long term solution not a short term, piecemeal one such as another parcel tax.

  • The people of West County are already the most heavily taxed of any in the county

  • Taxpayers are already paying two parcel taxes to Doctors --a 2004 tax for $52 per parcel and a 2011 tax for $47. The new tax would be an additional $210 for a 1500 square foot house, more than double the existing two taxes!

  • If passed, homeowners will be paying more than $300 in parcel taxes

  • This will be a "forever" tax with no sunset clause

  • There is no senior exemption for this or the other two hospital taxes

  • Doctors has already received millions contributed by Kaiser and John Muir + it's not their responsibility to bail out the hospital

  • Under state law, the County and the Board of Supervisors must ensure that healthcare is available to its medically indigent residents + not West County taxpayers. State or Federal tax dollars should be made available to keep this facility open.

  • Imposing an expensive tax on West County citizens to give hospital administration the leverage to pursue additional outside financing places a permanent unfair burden on County taxpayers

  • The hospital will not close. It can go into bankruptcy as it did in 2006 + in spite of getting the 2004 parcel tax revenue + and stay open. Even if Doctor's partners with another healthcare organization citizens will continue to pay current parcel taxes

This tax does not solve Doctors financial problems.

Please Vote No!

Margie Liberty, Homeowner

Marilynne L. Mellander, Homeowner

Paul Sartur, Homeowner

Eddy Guerra, Homeowner

Deberah Henson, Homeowner

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
If we don't pass Measure C, Doctors Medical Center and its emergency room will close this summer. Bankruptcy won't save our hospital. No one else will save this hospital.

Hospital management has tried everything to sustain its finances. They cut overhead costs and administrative positions, supplemented revenue with private and public resources, went through bankruptcy, and asked for minimal support from the community. They've tried everything they can, but they're now in a fiscal crisis. The hospital loses over $1 million each month they stay open to treat West County patients.

Measure C will keep DMC and its ER open. Every resident of West County depends on DMC for critical emergency stroke and heart attack care. Other local hospitals are not capable of giving this level of stroke and heart attack care, so even Kaiser patients are sent to DMC. Without the hospital, other ERs will either become unsustainably overcrowded or be forced to close.

If DMC is closed and Kaiser's ER has a 10-hour wait, where will you go? How long will it take to get the care you need? The extra time it takes to get critical care can be fatal.

This measure will save our local hospital and put it on the path to long-term financial sustainability. It will keep ER doctors and nurses here in our community to help you in an emergency. It is our best plan to save DMC.

Vote YES on Measure C to keep Doctors Medical Center and its emergency room open.

Andra' Kaminsky RN, BSN, Director Emergency Svcs & Inpatient Units

Dr. Robert A. Fox, Neurologist

Irma L. Anderson, Director West Contra Costa Healthcare Dist.

Robert Chiofalo, EMT (Contra Costa County)

Vernon Whitmore, In-coming President Richmond Chamber of Commerce

Full Text of Measure C

The West Contra Costa Healthcare District will levy a special tax on each taxable parcel of land within the District at an annual amount equal to fourteen cents per square foot of total building area on each parcel of taxable property within the District.

Taxable parcels are those parcels that appear on the annual secured Contra Costa County property tax roll.

The purpose of this parcel tax will be to ensure continued local access to emergency room care, acute hospital care and other medical services for residents of the District and visitors to the area. The revenues raised by this special tax will only be used to defray operating expenses, capital improvement expenditures and debt repayment to accomplish the foregoing purposes. In the event of permanent closure of Doctors Medical Center and its Emergency Room, this parcel tax will expire and the District will thereafter promptly cease imposition and collection of the tax authorized herein.

The District's appropriations limit will be increased by the amount of this voter-approved tax.

The special tax revenues shall be deposited into a separate account held by the Contra Costa County Treasurer, in accordance with Government Code Section 50075.1, and shall be expended solely for the above-stated purpose and according to a plan developed annually by the District staff and approved and adopted by the District's Board of Directors. An independent citizens' oversight committee will review annual audits and thereupon report to the public and the Board on the expenditure of tax proceeds.

The District will cause to be filed an annual report with its Board of Directors, which report shall include the amount of special tax revenues collected and expended, and which shall otherwise comply with the accountability measures established in Government Code Sections 50075.1 et seq.

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Created: May 28, 2014 13:55 PDT
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