Small turn out for special election
Bond issue and mill renewal pass for St. Charles Parish Hospital
By M. Susanne Hinkle -
July 20, 2006
Last Saturday's special election for an expansion and five year millage renewal for St. Charles Parish Hospital passed with only a small percentage of voters turning out to vote. Both measures on the agenda passed with 65% of the vote.
Only 1,723 of the parish's 32,000 voters turned out to decide the fate of the hospital's planned expansion and millage renewal. The referendum will allow St. Charles Parish Hospital to borrow $5.5 million to construct a new wing of the hospital and extend the hospital's property tax for maintenance and operations from 2011 through 2015.
The hospital expansion was identified several years ago by a long range planning committee consisting of representatives of the general population, business and industry, hospital staff and elected officials. The additional bonds were needed to finance a patient care tower, emergency department expansion and land acquisition for an assisted living facility.
"We are pleased and happy with the results of the voting on Saturday," said Fred Martinez, Administrator of St. Charles Parish Hospital. "The approval of the additional monies will allow us to re-bid the project and hopefully get a better bid than the original bid of $12,998,000 last March," he continued.
"The expansion replaces all the patient rooms that were originally built in the 70's. The standards and codes have changed and this will allow us to provide state of the art technology to our patients," concluded Martinez.
"Whenever we have an election, we want people to vote," said Tim Vial, Chief Administrative Officer for St. Charles Parish. He went on to say, "One person called and informed me that they didn't even know there was an election. I told that person that it was on the front page of the Herald-Guide and the Times Picayune. Voting turnout has been a problem for years. I believe there is little we can do about it," concluded Vial.