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Tuesday March 7, 2017 — Local Elections
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Special District

Sonoma Valley Health Care District
Measure B - 2/3 Approval Required

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Shall the Sonoma Valley Health Care District renew its expiring parcel tax for five years at up to $250 per parcel per year, raising an estimated $3.8 million annually, in order to assure the continued operation of the hospital emergency room, offset continuing reductions in reimbursements by Federal and State health insurance programs which are below the cost of providing hospital services and ensure the availability of acute hospital care and other hospital services at Sonoma Valley Hospital?

What is this proposal?

Details — Official information

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Sonoma County Counsel

The Sonoma Valley Health Care District has called a special election on a special parcel tax measure to fund local access to health care services. State law requires voter approval before a health care district can impose a special tax. Measure B was placed on the ballot by a 4-0 vote of the District Board of Directors.

Currently, the District imposes a special parcel tax at a maximum rate of $195 per year per parcel to fund health care services. This tax expires on June 30, 2017. Measure B would continue this tax for another five years, commencing July 1, 2017, and increase the maximum rate to $250 per year per parcel. It is estimated that the proposed tax will generate $3,800,000 in revenue annually.

Proceeds of the tax would be placed in a special fund held by the Sonoma County Treasurer and could only be used for the purposes set out in the measure, which include providing adequate funding to ensure continued local access to emergency room care, acute hospital care, and other health care services for residents of the District. No portion of the tax would be spent on capital improvements, other than improvements made in connection with day-to-day operational needs of the District. Measure B would also raise the District’s “spending limit” during the first year the parcel tax is levied to allow the District to spend the proceeds of the tax for these purposes. State law establishes additional accountability measures which require the chief fiscal officer of the district to file an annual report with the District’s Board of Directors stating the amount of funds collected and expended, and the status of any project required or authorized to be funded by the tax measure.

The tax would be applied to each unit of real property in the District that receives a separate tax bill for property taxes. Multiple parcels that are contiguous and are part of one economic unit under the same name and ownership would be charged as one parcel. Parcels which are exempt from property tax, oron which no property tax is otherwise levied, are also exempt from this tax. The measure also states that the District will continue to employ its currently established administrative review process to grant exemptions and to consider appeals with respect to the determination of contiguous parcels. The tax rate may not be increased beyond the maximum annual rate without approval of the voters of the District.

If two-thirds of the voters in the Sonoma Valley Health Care District who vote on this measure vote “yes,” the measure will pass and the special parcel tax will be levied. The tax would be collected in the same manner as regular property taxes starting with the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

County Counsel

By: s/ Robert Pittman
Assistant County Counsel

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against

Arguments FOR

We are fortunate to have the Sonoma Valley Hospital conveniently located here in the Valley. Sonoma Valley Hospital has an outstanding record for quality and safety as measured by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal agency.

We encourage you to vote Yes on Measure B to ensure that those who rely on the Sonoma Valley Hospital can continue to access emergency and other medical services quickly and conveniently here in Sonoma. During this past year, over 10,000 patients utilized the services of the Emergency Room and avoided a time-consuming trip out of the Valley in a time of stress.

Many in our area are seniors who rely on Medicare coverage. We need to make sure they can access emergency care here in Sonoma. The Emergency Room is the only Emergency Room in the Valley and is available for all, regardless of type of insurance (Blue Cross, Kaiser, Medicare, Medi-Cal, etc.), or for patients without insurance, regardless of the ability to pay.

We feel the annual tax of $250 is a reasonable price to pay for assurance that we will continue to have local Emergency Room services should our friends and neighbors in the district need it. The tax support is needed to offset the below cost reimbursement that the Hospital receives from state and federal insurance programs.

We hope that we will not have to visit the emergency room in the coming years. But we will be at ease knowing that the Sonoma Valley Hospital will provide for our needs if anything were to happen.

We strongly encourage you to join us and vote Yes on Measure B and ensure that we will continue to have local access to emergency and other medical services here in Sonoma Valley.

s/ Madolyn Agrimonti

s/ William R. Hutchinson

s/ Doug McKesson

s/ William E. Lynch

s/ Brian Sebastian, MD

— Sonoma County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor

Arguments AGAINST


— Sonoma County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor

Read the proposed legislation

Proposed legislation

The District will renew the parcel tax levy on each taxable parcel of land within the District, at an annual rate of up to $250 per parcel for five (5) years.

The purpose of the parcel tax will be to supplement State and Federal insurance payments which are below the cost of providing hospital services in order to ensure continued local access to hospital emergency room care, acute hospital care, and other hospital services for residents of the District and visitors to the area.

The parcel tax will not be used for capital improvements other than improve­ments made in connection with the day-to-day operational needs of the District.

The District’s appropriations limit will be established at an amount equal to the available funding during the first year of the parcel tax at the rate of $250 per parcel.

The amount of money to be raised annually by the parcel tax levy is esti­mated to be $3.8 million.

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

The following exemption will apply to the levy and collection of the parcel tax: with respect to multiple parcels that are contiguous and in the same ownership and that cannot be individually sold, leased (except for agricultural purposes) or financed, only one such parcel will be subject to the parcel tax.

The District will continue to employ its currently established administrative review process to grant exemptions and consider appeals with respect to contigu­ous parcels.

The parcel tax revenues will be deposited into a fund held by the County Treasurer.

             The District will cause to be filed an annual report with its Board of Directors, commencing not later than January 1, 2018, and annually thereafter, which report will be for the year ended June 30 of the prior year and contain information regard­ing the amount of parcel tax revenues collected and expended.

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