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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
July 14, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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July 14, 2010

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Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter Wednesday, July 14, 2010 11B COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVE Economic analysis adds up to a No vote on easure B WHERE I STAND Economic analysis not the primary revenue interest rate far below that of financial pressure on allwere lost, but certainly not In February, the Center for driver for PDH. Outpatient the last bonds sold for this other parcel holders would be by the anticipated average BILL MARTIN EconomicDevelopment at services are. The beds are for project.) slightly reduced, cost of the property tax BUSINESS AND PERSONAL Chico State produced an handling serious illness, When subdivided land is assessments expected over FINANCE INSTRUCTOR, RETIRED FEATHER RIVER COLLEGE economic study of the maternity, surgical recovery Financing mechanism built out and those homes sell the next 30 years. Plumas Hospital District. and community-scale emer-Would you loan money to a for contemporary prices, Out-of-town buyers con- In one of his routines, Like most things of this kind, gency, family that's locked in a well- their property tax is usually sidering our community comedian Chris Rock corn- unless you like numbers, Again, drive to Indian documented conflict about higher than homes in the weigh the situation before plains he paid car insurance charts and probability math, Valley to see how lost jobs taking on the obligation? surrounding, older neighbor- they buy here. Many of these premiums for the year and it's unlikely to become your (not over-taxation) caused Passage of Measure B hoods. New housing added people are mature and there- now wants his money back recreational reading, population shrinkage and would not only stop construc- into our tax base raises more fore concerned with health- (since he had no accidents). Still, it set off a number of inadequate support for a hos- tion, but a taxpayer posturerevenue than bare land.and,care and outpatient services. Humor comes from a com- alarm bells. Should Measurepital, leaving only indebted- of having capped the paybackagain, this takes financialThe lack of a fully functioning parison between the reality B pass in August, you won'tness. At least they still have assessment would also be- pressure off the remaining hospital in the county seat we know and its contrast need to wait to see the future PDH, 21 miles away. come well-known in financialparcels in the district forwould likely be a d,eal-breaker with a position like Rock's. I of PDH without new construc- But ifPDH goes down, circles and could sour this their share of the fixed debt. for them. Other communities say it's similar to the think- tion. Just take the roundtrip everyone will be commuting community's ability to seek a However, if our community would then receive their ing of some who support the to-Indian Valley and see itto Reno or Chico for medical future loan or bond. suffers a loss of jobs and economic contribution as Yes on Measure B effort. The today, where a shrinking services. Bonds are sold on the open many houses go up for sale residents-- not us. option to avoid pre-paying population due to economic market to investors who wantall at once, sale prices will For those concerned about your insurance or to support contraction has brought Construction an income stream that's com-decrease, dragging down commuting elsewhere for an up-to-date hospital cannot medical services to the point You can't depend on slackpetitive. That market does collective assessed value, more of their medical ser- be delayed Until you actually where the previous hospitalprices for labor and materials not regularly "digest" offer- This wo .uld require more tax vices due to a PDH closure, need them. Both must be has been replaced by a clinic, to be matched by easy access ings of bonds with capped dollars from the remaining Measure B proponents are secured in advance, open weekdays only. How- to borrowed money at low in- property tax assessments forparcels to cover the (post-leading you toward a greater Support of infrastructure is ever, tax payments continueterest rates, indefinitely. It's repayment unless they are construction, fixed) debt certainty of this, and sooner. part of the price we all pay for anyway to retire former something that rarely hap- offered with a compensating payment. Economic contraction from a living in a community with hospital bonds, pens, and we'd be foolish to inducement for the investor Therefore, it is in the failing hospital would raise decent roads, law enforce- The CED report concluded expect lower costs and lower (read that as a higher interest interest of district taxpayers each taxpayer's share of the ment, education, medical that the net economic impact interest rates to remain for rate). If our bonds are the for their community to existing bond debt. Propo- care, consumer services and of a property tax assessment long. only ones with financial maintain steady gross localnents have yet to show how so on. Some might prefer liv- in support of PDH is the total The desire of the PDH board hobbles attached, investors employment to prevent a netthis contraction could be ing 50 miles out with no ser- economic benefit of PDH for construction now is based will ignore them. migration out of town. avoided if they are victorious vices, but most of us usually minus the collectively borne in part on current lower The construction is a fixed The fallacy of the post- with their initiative. choose a community, town or cost of the assessment to prices. If we wait, a future cost. The bond series to payconstruction period circu- Those responsible for health city. Some of what we need is parcel owners. The net eco-project is likely to cost more for it is more (or less) expen- lated by Measure B advocates care in the hospital district easier to support (say parks), nomic impact is a positive in construction and financing sive based on interest ratesis that property taxes are have made both communica- and some are more difficult $29 million yearly, plus the while delivering less. in the debt market and PDH'sunlimited for 30 years, tion and logistical mistakes in (such as hospitals and medical retention of 288 jobs. Measure B proponents urgecreditworthiness. If granted, Perhaps, but only in the the rollout of the first two services) because they are The median parcel in the a $50 cap, which would pro- the USDA loan would repay a slim context of a slightly bond sales, mistakes that more capital intensive, district is currently valued at duce a revenue stream of large portion of the construc- growing, slightly shrinking, spiked the effect on the first The fewer people there $150,000. Even at last year's $300,000 per year. That sounds tion cost through lower, fixed or constant property tax base property tax bill. However, are to support the costs of assessment rate.of $127 perlike a handsome sum, but interest, and therefore lessderived from collective in contrast to the Measure B medical infrastructure, one hundred thousand, that's a there is no way the proposed overall cost. assessments, proponents, they have been or two things will be true. yearly amount of under two construction can commenceThe debt's repayment Such scare tactics could working to ensure the hospital The cost per user will be hundred bucks. That's a with it. would be spread across prop-only be realized if something remains viable as an anchor higher for any facility use or lopsided success in keepingThere is little chance erty taxpayers in the hospital like one-third of our resi-in the local economy. service or there will be a medical and hospital care prices will remain low until district. Every district parcel dents left the district and de- The Measure B advocates lesser assortment of facilities accessible, with a stable local future, alternative financing that sells for more than itsfaulted on their mortgages (to date) have given only a and services to choose from economy, might be secured, or that the . acquisition cost will produce and tax payments leaving one-word response to main- compared to a larger commu- Job loss from a closed PDH bond market or a govern- greater revenue than before two-thirds to foot the remain- taining PDH's viability. It's a nity that can afford more. In would be permanent. Maybe ment agency lender such as its sale because the initialrag, fixed debt service. NO, evidently based on economics, this situation is you've heard comments like the Department of Agricul- post-sale tax rate under Perhaps one of the only philosophy, ideology or anger as consistent as gravity, and "Nearly all the beds are ture will favor us in theProposition 13 is 1 percent,ways to see this come true but not based on economic it underlies all community empty, so we don't need it." future. (The USDA loan now When such a sale raises would be if the hospital analysis. Vote No on Measure development. But inpatient occupancy is being sought is at a fixed collected revenue, the closed and hundreds of jobsB and save your hospital. ~i .8,.{1, .u .................. LETTERS EDITOR Guidelines for Letters All letters must contain an address and a phone number. We publish only one letter per week, per person and only one letter per person, per month regarding the same subject. We do not publish third-party, anonymous, or open letters. Letters must be limited to a maximum of 300 words. The ed- itor will cut any letter in excess of 300 words.The deadline is Friday at 3 p.m. (Deadlines may change due to holidays.) Letters may be taken to any Of Feather Publishing's offices, senlj; via fax to 283-3952, or e-mailed at Good work Many thanks go out to the sponsor of the "blue rooms" that were spaced out along the Chester Fourth of July parade route. I know many tourists and locals alike appreciated their placement. They are a welcome addition for the comfort and conve- nience of our parade goers. I hope this program continues. The parade once again was great and was enjoyed by young and old alike. Keep up the good work. Wanda Garrido Chester Choice is clear Each day the disaster of the Deep Water Oil Spill is never far from my mind. Some will say one group or another is to blame. Certainly BP must take responsibility for its horrific mistake, and all oil companies must prepare for a similar disaster as the frenzy of drilling and pump- ing oil from the earth reaches a fever pitch. Experts have been saying for years that a true invest- ment in clean energy could move our economy away from oil over 20 years. It's just a question of starting down that path. Anywhere from 42 million to over 100 million gallons of oil are already devastating the waters in the Gulf Coast. In comparison, the Exxon Valdez spill -- the previous worst in U.S." history -- spilled 11 million gallons into waters around Alaska in 1989. The choice is clear, and so are the consequences. If we don't transition off of oil, the next disaster is just a matter of time. We can pressure our representatives to demand stricter safeguards on drilling and examine our own use of oil. We must all be a part of the solution. The oil spill is a problem we all share. Jane Steidel Quincy Some welcome You spend 22 years work- ing in the same place, and contrary to most, you still love your job. You take a short leave of absence, and when you return Monday 'Not so morning, it's not well wishes Many people believe that if you receive, but your walk- PDH closes we will still have ing papers, an emergency room to stabi- Your boss and his human lize patients or keep them resources "person" enter to alive until the helicopter tell you your job has been comes. Not so. We will be left terminated. They give you a with a clinic and an ambu- letter of termination to sign, lance bay. To maintain acute which you refuse. They then care status, law requires ask you to your many things like a lab, radi- personal belongings and are ology, staffing and on and on. escorted to your car in the Furthermore, doctors would parking lot. be legally prevented from Welcome back is right, performing many lifesaving This didn't take place in New procedures. A local doctor York, or Los Angeles, or any recently explained to me that other major city where these it was not unusual to have things seem the norm. It such a situation arise once a happened in Chester at monthat PDH, where had the Seneca hospital, lifesaving procedure not been My reason for this letter is available, death would have the newspaper still, I believe, been the likely result. offers a public forum for Think about th'is and your citizens to raise awareness family and friends before you and voice an opinion. I also support a tax cap that offers believe that many times no solutions to the problems stories are more than the PDH faces.. headline, "Seneca goes KimKraul through a 5 percent cutback." Quincy These are people we are dealing with, not just bottom No response lines. People who have Two weeks ago in a letter dedicated years of service to the editor, Bill Coates and are discarded with the invited the proponents of sensitivity of trash you must Measure B to an open forum dispose of. at the Town Hall Theatre. He Mr. Self, I ran a company of wanted to question the $50 250 people for more than 20 cap and the $300,000 annual years. We certainly went repairs that the cap would through numerous cutbacks supposedly allow the hospital and terminations. It is the to make. How was the cap set nature of the beast. But I can at $50? Where was the $300,000 tell you, had I followed your to come from? And finally, methods I would surely have what would it do? To date found myself in a courtroom, there has been no response and probably more than from theproponents. once. In the same issue, Lane Why did you eliminate Janice Brinkman's position without a dialogue prior to your action? How many people have been employed at Seneca for 22 years? Does that give you even the slightest _ pause? Why was there no lesser position offered? Your actions and methods in this situation were irrefutably poor. I truly wonder how many people at the hospital look at this example and wonder if they are next. And to them, I wish you good luck. Jim McAlpine Lake Almanor. Labb~ wrote that he and dant ability topay resulted inbuyers. The taxes collected others had offered alterna- a decrease of supply. Only thecan be only. enough to make tive financial suggestions to most prestigious hospitalwas the fixed yearly bond pay- the hospital but that they had healthy, merit. received no response. What I In rural areas like ours, The required tax rate may found was that Mr. Labb6 everything is tougher. Many go up or down each year. If had suggested to at least one young families are leaving, total assessed value goes board member that the hospi- Neighboring hospitals have up, the rate goes down. But, tal be sold to another, larger, struggled or closed. Yet, conceivably, the assessed hospital. This has been ex- health care dependent elders value could drop, which plored and rejected because remain in, or retire to, our would require the rate to go there is little interest in "snow country" home in sur- up for at least a short time. purchasing rural hospitals prising numbers. Plumas is Thus, their tax rate limit and we would lose our local the "grayest" county in Call- would make payments un- control. Other suggestions, fornia. The fact that PDH has certain, so potential bond such as grants, have been won national recognition buyers would either not buy offered and pursued by the more than once, and has a at all, or demand a very high board to no avail, sound fiscal record is a key interest rate to take the risk. At a hospital board meet- element of this strength, and That, and only that, is why ing earlier this year an attor- people rely on it. the tax rate must be variable, ney from the proponents What this means is clear but that isn't the same as pointed at the board and enough. In hospital economics,"unlimited." declared it was their problem aiming for mere survival Second they say that their to secure financing. I believe is "planning to faili" Some $50 tax rate cap would give they have already done so. communities have no other the district $300;000 per year All of this leads me to choice, but we do. It would beto make the needed improve- believe that the proponents almost a sin to throw away a ments. Not true. of Measure B are not really treasure that people in other For one thing, Measure A interested in having a viable rural areas are truly dying authorizes only bond sales, hospital but are satisfied without, not year-by-year spending on with the status quo. I cannot I know well that the price fix-ups. accept this as it would put will fallharder on some. This But $300,000 a year on the hospital in a downward year, I've needed to work two bond payments won't do the spiral leading to eventual jobs, cancel my health insur- job either. As noted above, closure, ance, etc. But I will vote you probably can't sell bonds Although the increased agair/st Measure B. at all under their $50 cap, and property tax hit me hard, I And, yes, I am a home- even ifyoucould, the interest paid it gladly knowing that owner and plan to stay that rate would be very high. the cost of the new facility is way. So, yes, I will be payingAnd don't forget that Mea- far less than the alternative, the tax even though my lack sure A money can be spent Please join me in voting of health insurance means only on a project that in- "NO" on Measure B. that, for now, I cannot fully cludes a new emergency KeithNicoles benefit from the hospital's room and operating rooms. Quincy services. These cannot be built at all Sometimes you have to with a $50cap inplace. Keep faith think of the future. Some- In short, Measure B is a Back in college, someone times you havetothink of the poison pill that won't cure asked if there were any mar- community. Always, keeping anything. kets that do not follow the or- faith with the greater good isSave our hospital. Vote No dinary patterns of supply and part of keeping hope alive in on B. demand. The main example your own life. George Terhune was the market for hospitals. Vote against Measure B. Quincy Even with high deniand and Scott Core2 life-or-death services, rela- Quincy. Brilliant idea tively small differences in The hospital opponents reputation could spell death Variable, not unlimited claim that they have given or success for the institution. The promoters of Measure the board many ideas in the Living in San Luis Obispo B are making at least two past seven months. Let me for two years, I saw this truth false claims, review a few of them. play out badly. The popula- First, they say that Hold fundraisers: If they tion was growing fast, largely Measure A authorized the could raise $50,000 per year, due to the influx of~,ery well- hospital district-to collect it would only take 200 years to-do, older citizens. Yet, two "unlimited taxes." That's al- to raise half the cost of the of the three hospitals were on ways their scary headline, new hospital. the brink of collapse, and but it isn't true. Sell the hospital to St. the only countywide clinic When the district sells Mary's or Renown: Why network went broke twice, bonds, it must guarantee Increased demand and abun- yearly payments to the bond See Letters, page 12B t t