Today is the last day for Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District voters to get their Measure W ballots in the mail and postmarked, district CEO Matt Rees hopes the result comes in a resounding “yes” and that an agreement can be made over the College of the Redwoods Garberville site sale.
At the SHCHD governing board meeting in Garberville on Thursday afternoon the board discussed the CR site and Measure W, Rees said.
“The board is committed to moving forward with the CR site. We’re planning on showing up at the June meeting and seeing how we can move it forward,” he said.
Voters must get their Measure W ballots in the mail Tuesday to meet the deadline.
“There was some discussion on Measure W,” Rees said of the board meeting. “The committee is doing some work and making some phone calls to get out the vote.”
If passed, the measure would raise the existing parcel tax from $125 to $170 for 45 years and allow the district to build a new hospital to meet state seismic requirements. According to Rees, the current hospital in Garberville, Jerold Phelps Community Hospital, can’t be renovated to meet those requirements, which need to be in place by 2030.
“I believe it will go through,” he said. “I know it’s not going to be a landslide, it will be tight.”
The CR Garberville site is the most suitable property to build a new hospital on that the district has looked at because it has adequate roads and services like water and electricity already in place, Rees said. At a meeting earlier this month all but one of the CR Board of Trustees voted to sell the Garberville instructional site on Sprowl Creek Road to the healthcare district for $1.1 million. A unanimous vote was needed.
“I was a little disappointed,” Rees said about the decision. “They had already approved (the decision) one time and put (the site) on the excess property list.”
The trustee who cast the dissenting and deciding vote was Richard Dorn, who is a retired real estate broker.
“My concern was nobody has given a value on the building so we don’t know if it’s worth $5,000 or $3 million,” he said.
Rees said the property was sold to CR for $200,000.
“In talking with real estate agents, I think this is a fair price,” he said of the $1.1 million price tag.
Dorn said the property needs to be appraised before he considers changing his mind.
“I don’t understand how you can sell something if you don’t know what it’s worth,” he said.
Dorn said last week that he hasn’t reached out to the district or to the college to get the ball rolling on the appraisal. Rees said he’s optimistic Dorn will come around.
“As I understand, that property is going back on the June agenda,” Rees said. “I’m hopeful that the individual who voted ‘no’ will get the information he needs to make a decision that’s best for the college and the community.”
Second District Supervisor Estelle Fennell said she’s heard pro- and anti-Measure W sentiments from her constituents.
“I think people in the local area need a hospital,” she said. “I don’t know what the level of support is but I hope they see that.”
Dorn said CR made a commitment to the Garberville community when that property was purchased and he would want to still have a classroom open at the site if the deal with the district goes through.
“My family has been in Southern Humboldt and Redway since 1898 so I have a tremendous commitment to the community,” he said.
Hunter Cresswell can be reached at 707-441-0506.