Proposition 1 for hospital bonds passing as ballot counts continue

Quincy Valley Medical Center’s lab is cramped, with four people working in a small room. Two of them seen here are, at left, Agustin Santos and Duvelza Lopez, the lab manager.

Ballot tallies on Aug. 2 and through Monday morning, Aug. 8, show more than 60% of voters supporting Proposition 1, making it likely Quincy Valley will have a new hospital building in its future.

Proposition 1 would authorize Grant County Public Hospital District 2 to issue bonds to fund construction of a replacement building for Quincy Valley Medical Center and equip the new facility.

The first ballot count revealed by Grant County Elections Office showed 1,488 votes tallied, with 957 approving Prop 1, or 64.3%, and 531 votes rejecting it, or 35.7%. The tally as of Monday morning showed more ballots counted and the percentages nearly the same – with less than 0.1% change.

To pass, Proposition 1 needs 60% “yes” votes.

Typically, the ballot counts following election night don’t change the percentages much; however, there were still approximately 2,300 ballots to count.

The county plans to certify the primary election results Tuesday, Aug. 16.

Glenda Bishop, CEO of QVMC, was elated Tuesday night shortly after the voting was revealed. She had been enjoying a large group of 70 at a National Night Out block party outside QVMC when the news arrived. The celebrations were in motion.

“It is awesome for Quincy, it is awesome for the future,” Bishop said. “It’s awesome for our kids who are going to be young adults and say, ‘Look what the community did for us.’”

While she was cautious knowing there are likely some more ballots yet to be counted during the next two weeks, she said she will never forget this night.

“It has been outstanding,” she said. “Sixty-four percent is a pretty awesome statement.”

The message from voters, she said, will resonate through generations and have important ripple effects.

In 2021, QVMC logged 14,000 patient interactions in 2021, including 3,116 patients in emergency and acute care.

Randy Zolman, chairman of the hospital board, on Aug. 3 was cautiously optimistic about the voting results. The idea of building a new hospital facility to replace the aging QVMC patchwork of buildings has been discussed for many years, he said, since he joined the board in 2005.

“We’ve been talking about this that long, if not longer,” Zolman said.

The medical center and hospital district have been working toward a replacement facility through those years of effort, and, in the past five years, distilled in the Legacy Project’s goals and values. The Legacy Project led to Proposition 1, and about two-thirds of voters supported it so far in the counting.

“I am pretty excited that we are actually in that position, and we got the backing from the public,” Zolman said. “So, I am happy. … It’s going to be a good thing for the community.”

He also sees a future in a new building that uses taxpayer dollars and other funds more efficiently in ongoing operations, rather than spending large sums on repairs and updates to old facilities.

“They are going to find that dollar for dollar, we are going to be able to give them more for less, because we aren’t putting it into the building,” Zolman.

The Port of Quincy has supported and helped frame the Legacy Project. Port Commissioner Brian Kuest led the port’s involvement with his time and financial expertise. The port obtained a grant for an architectural and engineering assessment of QVMC’s facilities that was key in advancing the Legacy Project.

Viewing the Proposition 1 results so far, Kuest had these comments by email to the Post-Register:

“What once was a dream now appears to be reality and it is exciting that the community was compelled to support the levy. I am confident that the hospital team will design and build a facility that the community can be proud of. The goal has always been to provide the community with affordable and sustainable health care for the future. The Quincy Port District appreciates the fact that the Hospital District has allowed the Port to be part of the process.”

Grant County Public Hospital District No. 2, which runs QVMC, put Proposition 1 on the Aug. 2 primary ballot. The voters pamphlet states a $300,000 home would be taxed at an estimated rate of $11.50 per month to pay for the bonds.

Officials have said the plan for the bonds is to issue a portion of the authorized $55 million first, enough to initiate design and construction, and later to issue a second series of bonds to complete the project, while staying under the $55 million limit.

The hospital district owns the land for the new facility. The new building is envisioned to occupy the northern half of the QVMC property, much of which is now lawn. The original hospital building opened in 1959, and it has been remodeled and added to numerous times.

What Proposition 1 says

The text of the Proposition 1 ballot measure voted on in the Aug. 2 primary:

Grant County Public Hospital District No. 2 (Quincy Valley Medical Center)

Proposition No. 1, bonds for new hospital

The Commission of Public Hospital District No. 2, Grant County, Washington, adopted Resolution No. 22-04 concerning a proposition for the construction of a new hospital and related health care facilities. If approved, this proposition would authorize the District to construct and equip a new hospital and carry out other capital improvements deemed necessary or advisable by the Commission; issue no more than $55,000,000 of general obligation bonds maturing within 30 years; and levy annual excess property taxes to repay the bonds, all as provided in Resolution No. 22-04.

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