Jefferson Healthcare may forgo bond request from voters in November

Posted 7/22/22

Jefferson Healthcare is backing away from the idea of going to voters in November for a bond measure to renovate and expand the hospital campus.

During a special meeting Wednesday, the hospital's …

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Jefferson Healthcare may forgo bond request from voters in November

Posted

Jefferson Healthcare is backing away from the idea of going to voters in November for a bond measure to renovate and expand the hospital campus.

During a special meeting Wednesday, the hospital's board of commissioners directed Jefferson Healthcare CEO Mike Glenn to come back next week with a revised plan that does not require a bond approved by voters.

Glenn had noted during the meeting that an early estimate of a $160 million project had been scaled back to $125 million, and further analysis pared the project back to $90 million to $100 million.

At Thursday's meeting of the Jefferson County Board of Health, Kees Kolff told his fellow board members that the hospital has been working actively on plans for improvements to the Jefferson Healthcare campus since the start of 2022 with the assistance from an architect, designer, construction engineer, and a construction firm in a design-build process.

Kolff, who is also a hospital commissioner, noted the high cost of developing hospital space, currently estimated to cost $1,450 per square foot.

"Unfortunately, the cost of what we had initially thought we might be able to do were astronomical because of the exorbitant and unique costs of building hospital space," Kolff said.

"We've been trying to figure out how we can do what the community needs with less money," he added.

Hospital officials are now looking at improvement plans that do not include building a shell area for additional hospital services that would be filled out at a later date. 

"We believe that actually by being even more efficient in our planning that we can get just about everything that we need for the near-term future," Kolff told members of the Jefferson County Board of Health.

"But we will have to probably avoid adding an additional square footage for future needs, which would have been nice to do as a shell today," he said.

The emerging funding plan for the makeover of the hospital does not appear to need a bond request approved by voters. Earlier plans had anticipated a bond that would provide $40 million to $60 million in funding, and that level has since been dropped to a $30 million to $50 million ask from the community.

Kolff said during Thursday's board meeting that reducing the scope of the project and taking other steps would do away with the need for a bond measure.

"I am happy to stay that it appears that we'll be able to do this with a variety of very creative funding methods other than going to the community for a bond issue," Kolff said. 

Hospital officials were facing a tight deadline in getting a bond proposal on the ballot for the 2022 General Election.

The Jefferson County Public Hospital District No. 2 Board of Commissioners will consider the fate of a ballot resolution for the hospital's replacement and expansion project at the board's next regular meeting, scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 27.

At this week's hospital board meeting, Kolff had pointed to the hospital's property tax levy as a source for additional revenues.

During Thursday's county health board meeting, he again referenced a possible levy lid lift, but stressed it wasn't currently in the works. 

"We may need to, in the near future, go to the community because we do believe that the community can support our programs more than they do today. But not at this time," he said.

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  • MargeS

    Let us know when you actually have a plan.

    Saturday, July 23 Report this