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Taxpayers Against Unfair Taxes - Russian River Corridor Detachment

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Taxpayers Against Unfair Taxes - Russian River Corridor Detachment

By Dan Northern, TAUT

Are you tired of paying of paying Palm Drive taxes?

• Are you concerned that the hospital’s extensive debt, two bankruptcies and a history of huge annual financial losses will lead to even more taxes or yet another bankruptcy?

• Do you feel that you are not served by the Palm Drive Health Care District (PDHCD) because you are a member of Kaiser or utilize the new Sutter Hospital at River and Hwy 101?   

You are not alone!  

The Taxpayers Against Unfair Taxes (TAUT), the Russian River Corridor Detachment Group and other concerned citizens are circulating a petition to detach the communities of Monte Rio, Guerneville and Forestville from the PDHCD.  Since the petition drive started a month ago, we have done well in obtaining petition signatures to detach the three communities from the District and put a stop to the excessive taxation, lack of community outreach and the inability to out vote the Sebastopol area residents.  If you are a registered voter in one of these three communities and would like to assure that the PDHCD never incurs further debt or raises taxes on your shoulders, please sign the petition that we are circulating.

Petitions are available for signing at Sequoia Properties

Properties on Hwy 116 in Forestville and Zephyr Real Estate - Russian River near the Plaza in Guerneville. You may also see members of our groups out in the River Community gathering signatures at your local post offices or civic events. If you are uncertain about the petition, would like to help, walk your neighborhood, or need more information stop by one of our locations and pickup an information sheet or call 707-887-7595.  

The detachment process is not an attempt to close the hospital. It is simply the only way the communities of Forestville, Monte Rio and Guerneville can regain control over future taxes and debt incurred by the PDHCD.  The facts are clear, the communities of Guerneville, Forestville and Monte Rio pay 46% of the taxes collected by the PDHCD but represent only 28% of the voters in the District.  At the ballot box we do not have the votes to elect the PDHCD District Board Members of our choice, oppose new taxes or stop the creation of more debt to pay for a failing system.  The reason that the tax to voter ratio is so imbalanced is there are over 3000 properties in the three communities that are being taxed by the PDHCD whose owners do not vote in the District (vacation properties).  In addition River Corridor residents account for only 15% of the users of the PDHCD and are therefore significantly underserved by the District.  (statistics taken before the new Sutter Hospital opened)

The PDHCD is in its second bankruptcy in 10 years.  While the current bankruptcy debt appears to be $8,000,000 the District is still repaying both the previous bankruptcy and $45,000,000 in losses that it incurred over the last 15 years.  The 15 year losses are being financed through the sale of bonds secured by our property taxes and certificates of participation secured by a lease of the hospital to the buyer of the certificates.  The District’s current bond debt, if carried to full term it will be $38,000,000, with a re-payment of principal and interest of over $2,000,000 annually.  

The PDHCD has been “re-invented” and will now be operated by the Sonoma West Medical Center (SWMC), a local non-profit.  SWMC, is relying on the expansion of it’s services to all “Sonoma County residents and residents of the greater Bay Area” as well as millions in pledged philanthropy just to succeed.   In any case, the PDHCD cannot run from the history that caused its previous failures.   According to its Auditors Moss-Adams, “The hospital and emergency room are financial drains on its operation.  With a decrease in volume and payment rates, combined with increasing costs to retain staff and increased competition, the PDHCD’s challenges become too many and too great to overcome”.  The auditor’s comments are evidenced by emergency room and acute care patient day declines which are down nearly 50% just since 2012.

Detachment is the only lifeboat on the sinking USS Palm Drive.  

Avoid future taxes! SIGN THE PETITION NOW! 

Comments:

We support Palm drive hospital. We voted to fund a hospital 3 times and we continue to support public funding for this hospital. We will pay taxes for the next 20 years no matter what. Some people would like our taxes to be diverted to other non profit health care projects. The voters voted to fund a hospital. We voted for a new board of directors to make sure our tax dollars go to funding a hospital. Majority rules. We are working with the majority of voters and taxpayers to make sure our hospital is opened and our tax dollars are not  diverted to other projects. This is a public hospital with an elected board. Any request for future funding would be placed on the ballot and be voted on by the people. 

Many people are giving donations to fund their local public hospital and make sure it reopens and stays open. Why would anyone want to pay taxes for 20 years for nothing?  This hospital is a community resource and will provide training for future doctors and first responders. This hospital will be a life savior for an aging population in Western Sonoma County. If there is a natural  disaster and our freeways and infrastructure are damaged we will need this hospital and emergency services west of hwy 101.
It is very short-sighted and small-minded to think that the thousands of people who shop, go to theater, soccer games restaurants, etc. will never use a local hospital in Sebastopol in the case of an emergency. In 20 years, future generations can vote to continue funding for their local public hospital or not.
We believe that this local public hospital is the future and most people will be very thankful for the visionaries who supported reopening the hospital. Many of us believe that the board members who voted to close the hospital made a tragic mistake by never giving us a chance to find funding to keep it open. 

 

Lynn Hamilton
Occidental, Ca