In just over one month, Marin voters will go to the polls to vote on Measure F, the Marin Healthcare District's $394 million general obligation bond measure to pay part of the cost to rebuild and modernize the 61-year-old Marin General Hospital.
Property owners would pay about $20 per $100,000 of the assessed valuation of their property, according to a district spokesperson, or about $10 to $12 per month for the owner of a property with an assessed value of approximately $650,000.
Knowing that they must convince at least two-thirds of a broad range of voters – the district would tax property owners who reside within its boundaries, which encompass all of Marin County except Novato and part of West Marin, to pay for the 30-year bonds – hospital officials are ramping up their community outreach efforts.
Jon Friedenberg, the hospital's chief fund and development officer, has scheduled two appearances this month in front of prominent groups. The first is Friday in front of the governmental affairs committee of the Marin Association of Realtors in San Rafael. The second is at the Redwoods senior community in Mill Valley on Monday, Oct. 21.
Friedenberg said the hospital plans to spend $500,000 toward the passage of Measure F, primarily in the form of phone banking, precinct walking and direct mail.
The $394 million would be used to rebuild and modernize Marin General’s emergency room, intensive care and critical care units and patient and nursing areas. It will also pay for the "latest lifesaving medical technologies for treating trauma, heart disease, stroke, cancer and other diseases, reduce ER wait times and ensure compliance with seismic safety standards designed to keep Marin General Hospital open in the event of earthquakes," according to the district.
“More than 60 years ago, Marin voters passed a (general obligation bond) which paid for the construction of Marin General Hospital," Jennifer Rienks, chair of the district's board, said in a statement. "It is now time to build a new Marin General Hospital and this generation of Marinites will be asked to support a bond measure so that we can continue to have a full service acute care hospital in our community."
More than anything, the massive overhaul of the hospital's campus, estimated at $500 million, would allow Marin General to makes its facilities earthquake safe, which it must do by 2030 under state law.
“We believe that making the hospital seismically safe and insuring that life-saving, up-to-date medical technology is available to citizens—especially in the event of a natural disaster such as an earthquake—is a critical part of our mission,” Lee Domanico, the hospital's CEO said in a statement.
To date, Measure F has received the support of the League of Women Voters of Marin County, the North Bay Leadership Council and the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce, as well as Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. The Marin United Taxpayers Association is opposing the bond measure.
Here is the language that will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot for Measure F:
"To make seismic upgrades to Marin General Hospital to meet stricter California earthquake standards and keep open Marin County's only Designated Trauma Center; to expand and enhance emergency and other medical facilities; to provide the latest lifesaving medical facilities for treatment of heart, stroke, cancer and other diseases, and to reduce ER wait times, shall the Marin Healthcare District issue $394,000,000 in bonds to improve Marin General Hospital and related facilities with new construction, acquisitions, and renovations?"
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