Hospital or taxes

Letter to the Editor

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  • Friday, October 3, 2008 2:37am
  • Opinion

I read with interest Jim McKiernan’s editorial (in the Oct. 10 paper). Jim and I are on opposite sides of this issue. He wants a new hospital; I don’t want a new hospital. He did, however, bring up a valid question. Was the vote against taxes or against a new hospital? Just who was it that decided that the vote was against taxes and not a new hospital? Probably the same person who decided we needed a new hospital.

Personally, I don’t want either. That’s not to say I don’t want a small community hospital. But critical to my way of thinking, the hospital must be fiscally responsible.

I finally got a look at the 2006 profit-and-loss statement for the hospital. The way I read it, the hospital lost $10 million last year alone. Holy cow! And they want a bigger hospital! With no more beds! What’s the point? How much, in taxpayer’s dollars, did it cost to promote the “higher taxes” vote? And now, they’ve decided they didn’t need the new taxes after all. They’re just going to build it anyway. How is it going to be financed? Did they sell or mortgage every asset we’ve got?

I think Jim has it right. We should ask a few more questions before proceeding. I’ve found it easy to ask questions, but very hard to get answers.

Herschel Backues

North Bend

Editor’s note: According to Don Galer, Snoqualmie Valley Hospital chief financial officer, the hospital has a $10 million cumulative operating loss since inception. Last year, the hospital had a one-time $2 million operating loss due to start-up costs of new practices, including acquisition of new equipment and staff.

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